Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire,
was the continuation of the
Roman Empire in the East during Late
Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was
Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, which had been founded as
Byzantium). It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western
Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an
additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in
1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most
powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both
Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical
terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to
refer to their empire as the
Roman Empire (Greek: Βασιλεία
τῶν Ῥωμαίων, tr. Basileia tôn Rhōmaiōn; Latin: Imperium
Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as
Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of
transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West
Constantine I (r. 324–337) reorganised the empire, made
Constantinople the new capital, and legalised Christianity. Under
Theodosius I (r. 379–395),
Christianity became the Empire's official
state religion and other religious practices were proscribed. Finally,
under the reign of
Heraclius (r. 610–641), the Empire's military and
administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use
instead of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and
Roman state traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish
Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on
Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and
characterised by Orthodox Christianity.
The borders of the
Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as
it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the
Justinian I (r. 527–565), the
Empire reached its greatest
extent after reconquering much of the historically Roman western
Mediterranean coast, including North Africa, Italy, and Rome itself,
which it held for two more centuries. During the reign of Maurice (r.
582–602), the Empire's eastern frontier was expanded and the north
stabilised. However, his assassination caused the Byzantine–Sasanian
War of 602–628, which exhausted the Empire's resources and
contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim
conquests of the seventh century. In a matter of years the
its richest provinces,
Egypt and Syria, to the Arabs.
Macedonian dynasty (10th–11th centuries), the Empire
again expanded and experienced the two-century long Macedonian
Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor
Seljuk Turks after the
Battle of Manzikert
Battle of Manzikert in 1071. This battle
opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia.
Empire recovered again during the Komnenian restoration, such that
by the 12th century
Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest
European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the
Fourth Crusade, when
Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the
territories that the
Empire formerly governed were divided into
Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual
Constantinople in 1261, the
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 over the 15th century. The Fall
Constantinople to the
Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the
Byzantine Empire. The last of the imperial
Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans
eight years later in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond.
2.1 Early history
2.2 Decentralization of power
2.4 Loss of the Western Roman Empire
2.5 Justinian dynasty
2.6 Shrinking borders
2.6.1 Early Heraclian dynasty
2.6.2 Siege of
2.6.3 Late Heraclian dynasty
2.6.4 Isaurian dynasty to the accession of Basil I
2.6.5 Religious dispute over iconoclasm
Macedonian dynasty and resurgence (867–1025)
2.7.1 Wars against the Arabs
2.7.2 Wars against the Bulgarian Empire
2.7.3 Relations with the Kievan Rus'
Byzantine campaigns against Georgia
2.7.6 Split between Orthodox
Christianity and Catholicism (1054)
2.8 Crisis and fragmentation
2.9 Komnenian dynasty and the crusaders
2.9.1 Alexios I and the First Crusade
2.9.2 John II, Manuel I and the Second Crusade
2.9.3 12th-century Renaissance
2.10 Decline and disintegration
2.10.1 Angelid dynasty
2.10.2 Fourth Crusade
2.10.3 Crusader sack of
Empire in exile
2.11.2 Reconquest of Constantinople
2.11.3 Rise of the Ottomans and fall of Constantinople
2.12 Political aftermath
3 Government and bureaucracy
4 Science, medicine and law
5.2 The arts
5.2.1 Art and literature
5.4 Flags and insignia
8 See also
11.1 Primary sources
11.2 Secondary sources
12 Further reading
13 External links
Byzantine studies, resources and bibliography
See also: Names of the Greeks
The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the later years of the
Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf
published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of
historical sources. The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the
Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This
older name of the city would rarely be used from this point onward
except in historical or poetic contexts. The publication in 1648 of
Byzantine du Louvre (Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae), and
in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use
of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However,
it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general
use in the Western world.
Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman
Empire", the "
Empire of the Romans" (Latin: Imperium Romanum, Imperium
Romanorum; Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων Basileia
tōn Rhōmaiōn, Ἀρχὴ τῶν Ῥωμαίων Archē tōn
Rhōmaiōn), "Romania" (Latin: Romania; Greek: Ῥωμανία
Rhōmania),[n 1] the "Roman Republic" (Latin: Res Publica Romana;
Greek: Πολιτεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων Politeia tōn
Rhōmaiōn), "Graecia" (Greek: Γραικία), and also as
"Rhōmais" (Greek: Ῥωμαΐς). The inhabitants called
themselves Romaioi and Graikoi, and even as late as the 19th
century Greeks typically referred to modern Greek as Romaika and
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. The occasional use of the
Empire of the Greeks" (Latin: Imperium Graecorum) in the West to
refer to the Eastern
Roman Empire and of the
Byzantine Emperor as
Imperator Graecorum (Emperor of the Greeks) were also used to
separate it from the prestige of the
Roman Empire within the new
kingdoms of the West.
The authority of the
Byzantine emperor as the legitimate Roman emperor
was challenged by the coronation of
Charlemagne as Imperator Augustus
Pope Leo III in the year 800. Needing Charlemagne's support in his
struggle against his enemies in Rome, Leo used the lack of a male
occupant of the throne of the
Roman Empire at the time to claim that
it was vacant and that he could therefore crown a new Emperor
No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where
Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the
Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the
Roman Empire was known
primarily as Rûm. The name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was
used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former
subjects of the
Byzantine Empire, that is, the Orthodox Christian
community within Ottoman realms.
Main article: History of the
Part of a series on the
History of the
Early period (330–717)
Constantinian-Valentinian era (
Constantinian dynasty - Valentinian
Twenty Years' Anarchy
Middle period (717–1204)
Late period (1204–1453)
Fourth Crusade and Latin rule
Principality of Achaea
Byzantine successor states
Despotate of the Morea
Decline of the
Fall of Constantinople
Baptism of Constantine painted by Raphael's pupils (1520–1524,
fresco, Vatican City, Apostolic Palace);
Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea records
that (as was common among converts of early Christianity) Constantine
delayed receiving baptism until shortly before his death
Roman army succeeded in conquering many territories covering the
Mediterranean region and coastal regions in 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
urbanised than the western, having previously been united under the
Macedonian Empire and Hellenised by the influence of Greek
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
Decentralization of power
Byzantium under the Constantinian and Valentinian dynasties
To maintain control and improve administration, various schemes to
divide the work of the Roman Emperor by sharing it between individuals
were tried between 285 and 324, from 337 to 350, from 364 to 392, and
again between 395 and 480. Although the administrative subdivisions
varied, they generally involved a division of labour between East and
West. Each division was a form of power-sharing (or even job-sharing),
for the ultimate imperium was not divisible and therefore the empire
remained legally one state—although the co-emperors often saw each
other as rivals or enemies.
In 293, emperor
Diocletian created a new administrative system (the
tetrarchy), to guarantee security in all endangered regions of his
Empire. He associated himself with a co-emperor (Augustus), and each
co-emperor then adopted a young colleague given the title of Caesar,
to share in their rule and eventually to succeed the senior partner.
The tetrarchy collapsed, however, in 313 and a few years later
Constantine I reunited the two administrative divisions of the Empire
as sole Augustus.
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 into the Empire's military, monetary, civil and
religious institutions. As regards his economic policies in
particular, he has been accused by certain scholars of "reckless
fiscality", but the gold solidus he introduced became a stable
currency that transformed the economy and promoted development.
Christianity did not become the exclusive religion
of the state, but enjoyed imperial preference, because the emperor
supported it with generous privileges. Constantine established the
principle that emperors could not settle questions of doctrine on
their own, but should summon instead general ecclesiastical councils
for that purpose. His convening of both the Synod of Arles and the
First Council of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea 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
Restored section of the Theodosian Walls
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 are believed to have been held
in 393. In 395,
Theodosius I bequeathed the imperial office
jointly to his sons:
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 and pay foreign mercenaries. This success allowed Theodosius
II to focus on the codification of Roman law and further fortification
of the walls of Constantinople, which left the city impervious to most
attacks until 1204. Large portions of the
Theodosian Walls are
preserved to the present day.
To fend off the Huns, Theodosius had to pay an enormous annual tribute
to Attila. His successor, Marcian, refused to continue to pay the
Attila had already diverted his attention to the West.
After Attila's death in 453, the Hunnic
Empire collapsed, and many of
Huns were often hired as mercenaries by
Loss of the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire during the reigns of Leo I (east) and
in 460 AD. Roman rule in the west would last less than two more
decades, whereas the territory of the east would remain static until
the reconquests of Justinian I.
After the fall of Attila, the Eastern
Empire enjoyed a period of
peace, while the Western
Empire deteriorated due to continuing
migration and expansion by the Germanic nations (its end is usually
dated in 476 when the Germanic Roman general
Odoacer deposed the
usurper Western Emperor Romulus Augustulus).
In 480 with the death of the Western Emperor Julius Nepos, Eastern
Emperor Zeno became sole 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
Zeno negotiated with the invading Ostrogoths, who had settled in
Moesia, convincing the Gothic king Theodoric to depart for Italy as
magister militum per Italiam ("commander in chief for Italy") with the
aim of deposing 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, although he
was never recognised by the eastern emperors as "king" (rex).
In 491, Anastasius I, 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 perfected Constantine I's coinage system by definitively setting
the weight of the copper 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 320,000 lb (150,000 kg) of gold when
Anastasius died in 518.
Empire under the Justinian dynasty
Justinian I depicted on one of the famous mosaics of the
San Vitale, Ravenna
Theodora, Justinian's wife, depicted on the mosaics of the
San Vitale, Ravenna
The Justinian dynasty was founded by Justin I, who though illiterate,
rose through the ranks of the military to become Emperor in 518.
He was succeeded by his nephew
Justinian I 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
realized 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 to revise Roman law and create a new codification of laws
and jurists' extracts, known as the "Corpus Juris Civilis"or the
Justinian Code. In 534, the Corpus was updated and, along with the
enactments promulgated by Justinian after 534, formed the system of
law used for most of the rest of the
Byzantine era. The Corpus
forms the basis of civil law of many modern states.
In 532, attempting to secure his eastern frontier, Justinian signed a
peace treaty with
Khosrau I of Persia agreeing to pay a large annual
tribute to the Sassanids. In the same year, he survived a revolt in
Constantinople (the Nika riots), 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
Belisarius to reclaim the former province of Africa from the
Vandals 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 Ostrogothic
Italy, the deaths of Theodoric, his nephew and heir Athalaric, and his
Amalasuntha had left her murderer,
Theodahad (r. 534–536),
on the throne despite his weakened authority.
In 535, a small
Byzantine expedition to
Sicily met with easy success,
but the Goths soon stiffened their resistance, and victory did not
come until 540, when
Belisarius captured Ravenna, after successful
Naples and Rome. In 535–536,
Theodahad sent Pope
Agapetus I to
Constantinople to request the removal of Byzantine
forces from Sicily, Dalmatia, and Italy. Although Agapetus failed in
his mission to sign a peace with Justinian, he succeeded in having the
Monophysite Patriarch Anthimus I of
Constantinople denounced, despite
empress Theodora's support and protection.
Ostrogoths were soon reunited under the command of King
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 in Italy (late 551) with an army of
35,000 men marked another shift in Gothic fortunes.
defeated at the
Battle of Taginae
Battle of Taginae and his successor, Teia, was
defeated at the
Battle of Mons Lactarius
Battle of Mons Lactarius (October 552). Despite
continuing resistance from a few Gothic garrisons and two subsequent
invasions by the
Franks and Alemanni, the war for the Italian
peninsula was at an end. In 551, Athanagild, a noble from
Visigothic Hispania, sought Justinian's help in a rebellion against
the king, and the emperor dispatched a force under Liberius, a
successful military commander. The empire held on to a small slice of
Iberian Peninsula 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, which were subjected to
repeated incursions from the
Slavs and the Gepids. Tribes of
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. Philosophers such as
John Philoponus drew on neoplatonic
ideas in addition to Christian thought and empiricism. Nevertheless,
Hellenistic philosophy began to be gradually supplanted by or
amalgamated into newer Christian philosophy. The closure of the
Platonic Academy in 529 was a notable turning point. Hymns written
Romanos the Melodist
Romanos the Melodist marked the development of the Divine Liturgy,
while the architects
Isidore of Miletus
Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles
worked to complete the new Church of the Holy Wisdom, 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.
Roman Empire in 600 AD during the reign of Emperor Maurice
After Justinian died in 565, his successor,
Justin II refused to pay
the large tribute to the Persians. Meanwhile, the Germanic Lombards
invaded Italy; by the end of the century only a third of Italy was in
Byzantine hands. Justin's successor, Tiberius II, choosing between his
enemies, awarded subsidies to the Avars while taking military action
against the Persians. Though Tiberius' general, Maurice, led an
effective campaign on the eastern frontier, subsidies failed to
restrain the Avars. They captured the Balkan fortress of
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 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.
Early Heraclian dynasty
Empire under the Heraclian dynasty
Constantinople in 626 by the combined Avar, Sassanid Persian,
and Slavic forces depicted on the murals of the Moldovița Monastery,
Empire in 650 – by this year it had lost all of its
southern provinces except the Exarchate of Africa.
After Maurice's murder by 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, who sailed to
Carthage with an
icon affixed to the prow of his ship.
Following the accession of Heraclius, the Sassanid advance pushed deep
into the Levant, occupying
Jerusalem and removing the
True Cross to 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–Slavic
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
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. The loss came just after news had
reached them of yet another
Byzantine victory, where Heraclius's
brother Theodore scored well against the Persian general Shahin.
Heraclius led an invasion into Sassanid Mesopotamia
The main Sassanid force was destroyed at Nineveh 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,
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, the
Levant and whatever imperial
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 in 636, while
Ctesiphon fell in 637.
Greek fire was first used by the
Byzantine Navy during the
Byzantine–Arab Wars (from the Madrid Skylitzes, Biblioteca Nacional
de España, Madrid).
The Arabs, now firmly in control of
Syria and the Levant, sent
frequent raiding parties deep into Asia Minor, and in 674–678 laid
Constantinople itself. The Arab fleet was finally repulsed
through the use of Greek fire, and a thirty-years' truce was signed
Empire and the Umayyad Caliphate. However, the
Anatolian 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.
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 theme system, 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
See also: Twenty Years' Anarchy
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 were pushed south of the
Danube by the arrival of the Khazars. In 680,
Byzantine forces sent to
disperse these new settlements were defeated.
Constantine IV signed a treaty with the Bulgar khan Asparukh,
and the new Bulgarian state assumed sovereignty over a number of
Slavic tribes that had previously, at least in name, recognised
Byzantine rule. In 687–688, the final Heraclian emperor,
Justinian II, led an expedition against the
Slavs and Bulgarians, and
made significant gains, although the fact that he had to fight his way
Thrace to Macedonia 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 khan
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.
Isaurian dynasty to the accession of Basil I
Empire under the Isaurian dynasty
Empire at the accession of Leo III, c. 717. Striped
area indicates land raided by the Arabs.
Leo III the Isaurian
Leo III the Isaurian turned back the Muslim assault in 718 and
addressed himself to the task of reorganising and consolidating the
themes in Asia Minor. His successor, Constantine V, won noteworthy
victories in northern
Syria and thoroughly undermined Bulgarian
Taking advantage of the Empire's weakness after the Revolt of Thomas
the Slav in the early 820s, the Arabs re-emerged and captured Crete.
They also successfully attacked Sicily, but in 863 general Petronas
gained a decisive victory 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, signed a peace
treaty with Leo V.
Religious dispute over iconoclasm
The 8th and early 9th centuries were also dominated by controversy and
religious division over Iconoclasm, which was the main political issue
Empire for over a century. Icons (here meaning all forms of
religious imagery) were banned by Leo and Constantine from around 730,
leading to revolts by iconodules (supporters of icons) throughout the
empire. After the efforts of empress Irene, the Second Council of
Nicaea met in 787 and affirmed that icons could be venerated but not
worshiped. Irene is said to have endeavoured to negotiate a marriage
between herself and Charlemagne, but, according to Theophanes the
Confessor, the scheme was frustrated by Aetios, one of her
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, when
Pope Nicholas I
Pope Nicholas I challenged the
elevation of Photios to the patriarchate.
Macedonian dynasty and resurgence (867–1025)
Empire under the Macedonian dynasty
Byzantine Empire, c. 867
The accession of
Basil I to the throne in 867 marks the beginning of
the Macedonian dynasty, which would rule for the next two and a half
centuries. This dynasty included some of the most able emperors in
Byzantium's history, and the period is one of revival and resurgence.
Empire moved from defending against external enemies to reconquest
of territories formerly lost.
In addition to a reassertion of
Byzantine military power and political
authority, the period under the
Macedonian dynasty is 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 Arab invasions, and the Macedonian era has
been dubbed the "Golden Age" of Byzantium. Though the
significantly smaller than during the reign of Justinian, it had
regained significant strength, as the remaining territories were less
geographically dispersed and more politically, economically, and
Wars against the Arabs
Main article: Arab–
The general Leo Phokas defeats the Hamdanid
Emirate of Aleppo
Emirate of Aleppo at
Andrassos in 960, from the Madrid Skylitzes.
In the early years of Basil I's reign, Arab raids on the coasts of
Dalmatia were successfully repelled, and the region once again came
Byzantine control. This enabled
Byzantine missionaries to
penetrate to the interior and convert the
Serbs and the principalities
Montenegro to Orthodox Christianity.
An attempt to retake Malta ended disastrously, however, when the local
population sided with the Arabs and massacred the Byzantine
By contrast, the
Byzantine position in
Southern Italy was gradually
consolidated so that by 873
Bari was once again under Byzantine
rule, and most of
Southern Italy would remain in the
the next 200 years. On the more important eastern front, the
Empire rebuilt its defences and went on the offensive. The Paulicians
were defeated and their capital of Tephrike (Divrigi) taken, while the
offensive against the
Abbasid Caliphate began with the recapture of
The military successes of the 10th century were coupled with a major
cultural revival, the so-called Macedonian Renaissance. Miniature from
the Paris Psalter, an example of Hellenistic-influenced art.
Under Basil's son and successor, Leo VI the Wise, the gains in the
east against the now-weak
Abbasid Caliphate continued. However, 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
Crete in 911.
The death of the Bulgarian tsar 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
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 Mandylion, a relic purportedly imprinted
with a portrait of Christ.
Nikephoros II Phokas
Nikephoros II Phokas (reigned 963–969) and John
I Tzimiskes (969–976) expanded the empire well into Syria, defeating
the emirs of north-west Iraq. The great city of
Aleppo was taken by
Nikephoros in 962 and the Arabs were decisively expelled from Crete in
963. The recapture of Crete put an end to Arab raids in the Aegean
allowing mainland Greece to flourish once again.
permanently retaken in 965 and the successes of Nikephoros culminated
in 969 with the recapture of Antioch, which he incorporated as a
province of the Empire. His successor John Tzimiskes recaptured
Damascus, Beirut, Acre, Sidon, Caesarea, and Tiberias, putting
Byzantine armies within striking distance of Jerusalem, although the
Muslim power centres in
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. Nevertheless, by that time
Empire stretched from the straits of
Messina to the
from the Danube to Syria.
Wars against the Bulgarian Empire
Further information: Byzantine–Bulgarian wars
Basil II (r. 976–1025)
The traditional struggle with the See of Rome continued through the
Macedonian period, spurred by the question of religious supremacy over
the newly Christianised state of Bulgaria. Ending eighty years of
peace between the two states, the powerful Bulgarian tsar 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 Hungarians. The Byzantines were defeated at the
Battle of Boulgarophygon
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
Constantinople at the head of a large army. Though 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 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
Phocas and Romanos I Lekapenos
ended with another crushing
Byzantine defeat at the 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.
Byzantium entered a long period of peaceful relations,
Empire was now free to concentrate on the eastern front
against the Muslims. In 968, Bulgaria was overrun by the Rus'
under Sviatoslav I of Kiev, but three years later, John I Tzimiskes
defeated the Rus' and re-incorporated Eastern Bulgaria into the
The extent of the
Empire under Basil II
Bulgarian resistance revived under the rule of the Cometopuli dynasty,
but the new emperor
Basil II (r. 976–1025) made the submission of
Bulgarians his primary goal. Basil's first expedition against
Bulgaria, however, resulted in a humiliating defeat at the 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 Spercheios and Skopje decisively weakened the
Bulgarian army, and in annual campaigns, Basil methodically reduced
the Bulgarian strongholds. At the
Battle of Kleidion
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
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
Relations with the Kievan Rus'
Rus' under the walls of
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
became the main trading and cultural partner for Kiev. The Rus'
launched their first attack against
Constantinople in 860, pillaging
the suburbs of the city. In 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 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 the achievement of
political purposes. Rus'–
Byzantine relations became closer
following the marriage of
Anna Porphyrogeneta to
Vladimir the Great
Vladimir the Great in
988, and the subsequent Christianisation of the Rus'. Byzantine
priests, architects, and artists were invited to work on numerous
cathedrals and churches around Rus', expanding
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 the war of 1043,
during which the Rus' gave an indication of their ambitions to compete
with the Byzantines as an independent power.
Byzantine campaigns against Georgia
Main article: Byzantine–Georgian wars
The integrity of the
Byzantine empire itself was under serious threat
after a full-scale rebellion, led by Bardas Skleros, broke out in 976.
Following a series of successful battles the rebels swept across Asia
Minor. In the urgency of a situation, Georgian prince
Basil II and after decisive loyalist victory at the Battle of
Pankalia, he was rewarded by lifetime rule of key imperial territories
in eastern Asia Minor. However, David’s rebuff of Basil
in Bardas Phocas’ revolt of 987 evoked Constantinople’s
distrust of the Caucasian rulers. After the failure of the revolt,
David was forced to make
Basil II the legatee of his extensive
possessions. Basil gathered his inheritance upon David’s death in
1000, forcing the successor Georgian Bagratid ruler Bagrat
III to recognize the new rearrangement. Bagrat’s
son, George I, however, inherited a longstanding claim to
David’s succession. Young and ambitious, George launched a campaign
to restore the Kuropalates’ succession to Georgia and occupied Tao
in 1015–1016. He also entered in an alliance with the
of Egypt, Al-Hakim (996–1021), that put Basil in a difficult
situation, forcing him to refrain from an acute response to Giorgi’s
A miniature depicting the defeat of the Georgian king George I
("Georgios of Abasgia") by the
Byzantine emperor Basil. Skylitzes
Matritensis, fol. 195v. George is shown as fleeing on horseback on the
right and Basil holding a shield and lance on the left.
Beyond that, the Byzantines were at that time involved in a relentless
war with the Bulgar Empire, limiting their actions to the west. But as
soon as Bulgaria was conquered in 1018, and Al-Hakim was no more
alive, Basil led his army against Georgia. preparations for a
larger-scale campaign against
Kingdom of Georgia
Kingdom of Georgia were set in train,
beginning with the re-fortification of Theodosiopolis. In the autumn
of 1021, Basil ahead of a large army, reinforced by the Varangian
Guards, attacked the
Georgians and their Armenian allies, recovering
Phasiane and pushing on beyond the frontiers of Tao into inner
Georgia. King George burned the city of
Oltisi keep it out of the
enemy’s hands and retreated to Kola. A bloody battle was fought near
the village Shirimni at the Lake Palakazio (now Çildir, Turkey) on
September 11 and the emperor won a costly victory, forcing George I to
retreat northwards into his kingdom. Plundering the country on his
way, Basil withdrew to winter at Trebizond.
Several attempts to negotiate the conflict went in vain and, in the
meantime, George received reinforcements from the Kakhetians, and
allied himself with the
Byzantine commanders Nicephorus
Nicephorus Xiphias in their abortive insurrection in the emperor’s
rear. In December, George’s ally, the Armenian king Senekerim of
Vaspurakan, being harassed by the Seljuk Turks, surrendered his
kingdom to the emperor. During the spring of 1022, Basil launched a
final offensive winning a crushing victory over the
Svindax. Menaced both by land and sea, King George handed over Tao,
Phasiane, Kola, Artaan and Javakheti, and left his infant son Bagrat a
hostage in Basil's hands.
Constantinople became the largest and wealthiest city in Europe
between the 9th and 11th centuries.
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
Empire stretched from Armenia
in the east to
Southern Italy in the west. Many
successes had been achieved, ranging from the conquest of Bulgaria to
the annexation of parts of 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
Byzantine law and is still studied today. Leo also
reformed the administration of the Empire, redrawing the borders of
the administrative subdivisions (the 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 center of power, Constantinople. However, the
increasing military success of the
Empire greatly enriched and
empowered the provincial nobility with respect to the peasantry, who
were essentially reduced to a state of serfdom.
Under the Macedonian emperors, the city of
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
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 the sale of silk and metalwork.
Split between Orthodox
Christianity and Catholicism (1054)
Further information: East–West Schism
Mural of Saints Cyril and Methodius, 19th century, Troyan Monastery,
Macedonian period also included events of momentous religious
significance. The conversion of the Bulgarians,
Serbs and Rus' to
Christianity permanently changed the religious map of Europe
and still resonates today. Cyril and Methodius, two
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 within
Christian Church reached a terminal crisis, known as the
East–West Schism. Although there was a formal declaration of
institutional separation, on July 16, when three papal legates entered
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. Unfortunately the legates did not know that the Pope
had died, an event that made the excommunication void and the
excommunication only applied to the Patriarch who responded by
excommunicating the legates.
Crisis and fragmentation
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 changed the
military divisions (τάγματα, tagmata) from a rapid response,
primarily defensive, citizen army into a professional, campaigning
army, increasingly manned by 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
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 administration of the
Empire increasingly fell into the hands
of the civil service. Efforts to revive the
Byzantine economy only
resulted in inflation and a debased gold coinage. The army was now
seen as both an unnecessary expense and a political threat. Native
troops were therefore cashiered and replaced by foreign mercenaries on
At the same time, the
Empire was faced with new enemies. Provinces in
southern Italy faced the 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,
Normans began to advance, slowly but steadily, into Byzantine
Italy. Reggio, the capital of the tagma of Calabria, was captured
in 1060 by Robert Guiscard, followed by
Otranto in 1068. Bari, the
Byzantine stronghold in Apulia, was besieged in August 1068 and
fell in April 1071. The Byzantines also lost their influence over
the Dalmatian coastal cities to
Peter Krešimir IV of Croatia
Peter Krešimir IV of Croatia (r.
1058–1074/1075) in 1069.
The seizure of
Edessa (1031) by the Byzantines under George Maniakes
and the counterattack by the Seljuk Turks
The greatest disaster took place in Asia Minor, however, where the
Seljuq Turks made their first explorations across the Byzantine
Armenia in 1065 and 1067. The emergency lent weight to
the military aristocracy in Anatolia, who in 1068 secured the election
of one of their own, 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 he 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 Doukas, who soon faced the opposition of
Nikephoros Bryennios and Nikephoros Botaneiates. By 1081, the Seljuks
had expanded their rule over virtually the entire Anatolian plateau
Armenia in the east to
Bithynia in the west, and they had founded
their capital at Nicaea, just 90 kilometres (56 miles) from
Komnenian dynasty and the crusaders
Byzantine Empire under the Komnenos dynasty
Byzantine Empire under the Komnenos dynasty and Komnenian
Alexios I, founder of the
During the Komnenian, or Comnenian, period from about 1081 to about
1185, the five emperors of the
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.
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
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
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
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
Further information: Alexios I Komnenos
See also: First Crusade
Province (theme) of the
Empire ca. 1045
Empire and the Seljuk Sultanate of
Rûm before the First
After Manzikert, a partial recovery (referred to as the Komnenian
restoration) was made possible by the Komnenian dynasty. The
first Komnenian emperor was Isaac I (1057–1059), after which the
Doukas dynasty held power (1059–81). The Komnenoi attained power
again under Alexios I in 1081. From the outset of his reign, Alexios
faced a formidable attack by the
Robert Guiscard and his
son Bohemund of Taranto, who captured Dyrrhachium and Corfu, and laid
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; they were caught by
surprise and annihilated at the
Battle of Levounion
Battle of Levounion on 28 April
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
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
Eastern Orthodox Church with the Roman Catholic
Church under his rule. On 27 November 1095,
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II called
together the Council of Clermont, and urged all those present to take
up arms under the sign of the
Cross and launch an armed pilgrimage to
Jerusalem and the East from the Muslims. The response in
Europe was overwhelming.
The brief first coinage of the
Thessaloniki mint, opened by Alexios in
September 1081, on his way to confront the invading
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
Alexios was able to recover a number of important cities and islands,
and in fact much of western Asia Minor. Nevertheless, the
Catholic/Latin crusaders believed their oaths were invalidated when
Alexios did not help them during the siege of
Antioch (he had in fact
set out on the road to
Antioch but had been persuaded to turn back by
Stephen of Blois, who assured him that all was lost and that the
expedition had already failed). Bohemund, who had set himself up
as Prince of Antioch, briefly went to war with the Byzantines, but he
agreed to become Alexios' vassal under the
Treaty of Devol
Treaty of Devol in 1108,
which marked the end of the Norman threat during Alexios' reign.
John II, Manuel I and the Second Crusade
Main articles: John II
Komnenos and Manuel I Komnenos
Medieval manuscript depicting the Capture of
Jerusalem during the
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
Byzantine Marcus Aurelius.
During his twenty-five year reign, John made alliances with the Holy
Roman Empire 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 German
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 Turks in 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 Danishmend Emirate of Melitene and reconquered all of
Cilicia, while forcing Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, to
Byzantine suzerainty. In an effort to demonstrate the
Emperor's role as the leader of the Christian world, John marched into
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.
Raymond was emboldened to invade Cilicia, but he was defeated and
forced to go to
Constantinople to beg mercy from the new Emperor.
Empire in orange, c. 1180, at the end of the Komnenian
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
Fatimid Egypt. Manuel reinforced his position as overlord of the
Crusader states, with his hegemony over
by agreement with Raynald, Prince of Antioch, and 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
Kingdom of Hungary
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
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
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
Asia Minor was still successful.
Byzantine civilisation in the 12th century
See also: Komnenian
'The Lamentation of Christ' (1164), a fresco from the church of Saint
Panteleimon in Nerezi near Skopje; it is considered a superb example
of 12th-century Komnenian art
John and Manuel pursued active military policies, and both deployed
considerable resources on sieges and on 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
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
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 Genoese and
others opened up the ports of the Aegean to commerce, shipping goods
from the Crusader kingdoms of
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 humanism as a renaissance of
interest in classical authors. In Eustathius of Thessalonica,
Byzantine humanism found its most characteristic expression. In
philosophy, there was resurgence of classical learning not seen since
the 7th century, characterised by a significant increase in the
publication of commentaries on classical works. In addition, the
first transmission of classical Greek knowledge to the West occurred
during the Komnenian period.
Decline and disintegration
Main article: Decline of the
Empire under the Angelos dynasty
Byzantium in the late Angeloi period
Manuel's death on 24 September 1180 left his 11-year-old son Alexios
Komnenos on the throne. Alexios was highly incompetent at the
office, but it was his mother, Maria of Antioch, and her Frankish
background that 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 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
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 so as 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
Despite his military background, Andronikos failed to deal with Isaac
Béla III of Hungary
Béla III of Hungary (r. 1172–1196) who reincorporated
Croatian territories into Hungary, and Stephen Nemanja of Serbia (r.
1166–1196) who declared his independence from the
Yet, none of these troubles would compare to William II of Sicily's
(r. 1166–1189) 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 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,
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
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 center of the Empire
encouraged fragmentation. There is evidence that some Komnenian heirs
had set up a semi-independent state in Trebizond before 1204.
According to Alexander Vasiliev, "the dynasty of the Angeloi, Greek in
its origin, ... accelerated the ruin of the Empire, already
weakened without and disunited within."
Further information: Fourth Crusade
The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople, by Eugène Delacroix
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III broached the subject of a new crusade
through legates and encyclical letters. The stated intent of the
crusade was to conquer Egypt, now the centre of Muslim power in the
Levant. The crusader army that arrived at Venice in the summer of 1202
was somewhat smaller than had been anticipated, and there were not
sufficient funds to pay the Venetians, whose fleet was hired by the
crusaders to take them to Egypt. Venetian policy under the ageing and
blind but still ambitious Doge
Enrico Dandolo was potentially at
variance with that of the Pope and the crusaders, because Venice was
closely related commercially with Egypt. The crusaders accepted
the suggestion that in lieu of payment they assist the Venetians in
the capture of the (Christian) port of Zara in
Dalmatia (vassal city
of Venice, which had rebelled and placed itself under Hungary's
protection in 1186). The city fell in November 1202 after a brief
siege. Innocent tried to forbid this political attack on a
Christian city, but was ignored. Reluctant to jeopardise his own
agenda for the Crusade, he gave conditional absolution to the
crusaders—not, however, to the Venetians.
After the death of Theobald III, Count of Champagne, the leadership of
the Crusade passed to Boniface of Montferrat, a friend of the
Hohenstaufen Philip of Swabia. Both Boniface and Philip had married
Byzantine Imperial family. In fact, Philip's brother-in-law,
Alexios Angelos, son of the deposed and blinded Emperor Isaac II
Angelos, had appeared in
Europe seeking aid and had 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 get to Egypt. Innocent
was aware of a plan to divert the Crusade to
forbade any attack on the city, but the papal letter arrived after the
fleets had left Zara.
Crusader sack of
Further information: Siege of
Constantinople (1203) and Siege of
The partition of the empire following the Fourth Crusade, c. 1204
The crusaders arrived at
Constantinople in the summer of 1203 and
quickly attacked, started 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. When Innocent III heard of the
conduct of his crusaders, he castigated them in no uncertain terms but
the situation was beyond his control, especially after his legate, on
his own initiative, had absolved the crusaders from their vow to
proceed to the Holy Land. When order had been restored, the
crusaders and the Venetians proceeded to implement their agreement;
Baldwin of Flanders was elected Emperor of a new
Latin Empire and the
Thomas Morosini was chosen as Patriarch. The lands divided up
among the leaders included most of the former
though resistance would continue through the
Byzantine remnants of the
Nicaea, Trebizond, and 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".
Empire in exile
Further information: Frankokratia
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, was created
after Georgian expedition in Chaldia, commanded by Alexios
Komnenos a few weeks before the sack of Constantinople, who later
found himself de facto emperor, and established himself in 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 Rûm
following the Mongol invasion in 1242–43 allowed many beyliks and
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
Reconquest of Constantinople
Empire under the Palaiologos dynasty
Byzantine Empire, c. 1263
Empire of Nicaea, founded by the 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
Michael VIII Palaiologos
Michael VIII Palaiologos but the war-ravaged
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
and later his grandson 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
Rise of the Ottomans and fall of Constantinople
Byzantine–Ottoman Wars and Fall of Constantinople
The siege of
Constantinople in 1453, depicted in a 15th-century French
The situation became worse for
Byzantium during the civil wars after
Andronikos III died. A six-year-long civil war devastated the empire,
allowing the Serbian ruler
Stefan Dušan (r. 1331–1346) to overrun
most of the Empire's remaining territory and establish a Serbian
Empire. In 1354, an earthquake at Gallipoli devastated the fort,
allowing the 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
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 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
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
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),
fell to the Ottomans after a two-month siege on 29 May 1453. The last
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.
Eastern Mediterranean just before the fall of Constantinople
By the time of the fall of Constantinople, the only remaining
territory of the
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 on 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. Demetrios asked the Ottomans to invade and drive Thomas out.
Thomas fled. The Ottomans moved through the Morea and conquered
virtually the entire Despotate by the summer. Demetrios thought the
Morea would be restored to him to rule, but it was incorporated into
the Ottoman fold.
A few holdouts remained for a time. The island of
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 very last holdout was Salmeniko, in the
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
Flag of the late
Empire under the Palaiologoi, sporting the
tetragrammic cross symbol of the Palaiologos dynasty
Empire of Trebizond, which had 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 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
Trebizond's Crimean principality, the
Principality of Theodoro
Principality of Theodoro (part
of the Perateia), lasted another 14 years, falling to the Ottomans in
A nephew of the last Emperor, Constantine XI, Andreas Palaiologos
claimed to have inherited the title of
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
Charles VIII of France and the
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 Has Murad,
became a personal favorite 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
Roman Empire until the demise of the
Ottoman Empire in the early
20th century following World War 1. 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
(Orthodox Christians) as Rûm. Meanwhile, the Danubian Principalities
(whose rulers also considered themselves the heirs of the Eastern
Roman Emperors) harboured Orthodox refugees, including some
At his death, the role of the emperor as a patron of Eastern Orthodoxy
was claimed by Ivan III,
Grand duke of Muscovy. He had married
Andreas' sister, Sophia Paleologue, whose grandson, 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
Government and bureaucracy
Byzantine state, the emperor was the sole and absolute ruler,
and his power was regarded as having divine origin. The 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 themes,
where civil and military administration was exercised by one person,
The themes, c. 750
The themes, c. 950
Despite the occasionally derogatory use of the terms "Byzantine" and
Byzantine bureaucracy had a distinct ability for
reconstituting itself in accordance with the Empire's situation. 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
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.
The embassy of John the Grammarian in 829, between the emperor
Theophilos and the Abbasid caliph Al-Ma'mun
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
Diplomacy in the era was understood to have an intelligence-gathering
function on top of its pure political function. The Bureau of
Constantinople handled matters of protocol and record
keeping for any issues related to the "barbarians", 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 a number of 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 practice 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
Byzantine diplomacy, which remains one of
Byzantium's lasting contributions to the history of Europe.
Science, medicine and law
Byzantine medicine, and
Interior panorama of the Hagia Sophia, the patriarchal basilica in
Constantinople designed 537 CE by Isidore of Miletus, the first
compiler of Archimedes' various works. The influence of Archimedes'
principles of solid geometry is evident.
The writings of
Classical antiquity were cultivated and extended in
Byzantine science was in every period closely
connected with ancient philosophy, and metaphysics. In the field
of engineering Isidore of Miletus, the Greek mathematician and
architect of the 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 Geometer, that such
works are known today (see
Byzantines stood behind several technological advancements.
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
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 analog mechanism used in astronomy invented
around the late second century BC, continued to be (re)active in the
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”. Such mechanical devices reached high level of
sophistication and were made in order to impress the visitors.
The frontispiece of the Vienna Dioscurides, which shows a set of seven
John Philoponus, 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. Before that nobody
questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics despite it had flaws. John
Philoponus' criticism of Aristotelian principles of physics was an
inspiration for Galileo Galilei many centuries later, as Galileo cited
Philoponus substantially in his works, and was the reason why Galileo
also refuted Aristotelian physics during the Scientific
Ship mill is an invention made by the Byzantines, and was constructed
in order to mil grains by using the energy of the stream of water. The
technology eventually spread to the rest of
Europe and was in use
until ca. 1800.
In the field of law, Justinian I's reforms had a clear effect on the
evolution of jurisprudence, with his
Corpus Juris Civilis
Corpus Juris Civilis 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
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.
The concept of hospital as institution to offer medical care and
possibility of a cure for the patients due to the ideals of Christian
charity, rather than just merely a place to die, appeared in Byzantine
Although the concept of uroscopy was known to Galen, he did not see
the importance of using it to localize the disease. It was under the
Byzantines with physicians such of
Theophilus Protospatharius that
they realized the potential in uroscopy to determine disease 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
Paul of Aegina (7th century)
Nicholas Myrepsos (late 13th century), continued to be used as the
authoritative texts by Europeans through the Renaissance.
The first known example of separating conjoined twins happened in the
Empire in the 10th century when a pair of conjoined twins
Armenia came eventually 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 in three days before dying. But the fact that the
second person survived for few days after separating it, was so
impressive that it was mentioned a century and half years later again
by historians. The next case of separating conjoined twins will be
recorded first about 700 years later in the year 1689 in
Greek Fire, an incendirary weapon which could even burn on water is
also attributed to the Byzantines. It played a crucial role when the
Empire defeated the
Umayyad Caliphate during the Siege of
Constantinople (717–718). The discovery is attributed to
Callinicus of Heliopolis from Syria, a
Byzantine Jew who fled during
the Arab conquest of Syria. However, it has also been argued that no
single person invented the Greek fire, but that it was rather
“invented by the chemists in
Constantinople who had inherited the
discoveries of the Alexandrian chemical school...”.
Ceramic grenades that were filled with Greek fire, surrounded by
caltrops, 10th–12th century, National Historical Museum, Athens,
The first example of a grenade also appeared in
where rudimentary incendiary grenades made of ceramic jars holding
glass or nails were made and used on battlefields.
In the final century of the Empire, astronomy and other mathematical
sciences were taught in Trebizond; medicine attracted the interest of
almost all scholars.
During this period, refugee
Byzantine scholars were principally
responsible for carrying, in person and in writing, ancient Greek
grammatical, literary studies, mathematical, and astronomical
knowledge to early
Main articles: State church of the
Roman Empire and Ecumenical
Patriarchate of Constantinople
As a symbol and expression of the universal prestige of the
Patriarchate of Constantinople, Justinian built the Church of the Holy
Wisdom of God, Hagia Sophia, which was completed in the short period
of four and a half years (532–537)
A mosaic from the
Hagia Sophia of
Constantinople (modern Istanbul),
depicting Mary and Jesus, flanked by John II
Komnenos (left) and his
Irene of Hungary
Irene of Hungary (right), 12th century
Empire was a theocracy, said to be ruled by God working
through the Emperor. Jennifer Fretland VanVoorst argues, "The
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
The constitution of the
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
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 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. With 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 center 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 Patriarchate of
Constantinople remained the center of the Orthodox
world, with subordinate metropolitan sees and archbishoprics in the
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
The official state Christian doctrine was determined by the first
seven ecumenical councils, and it was then the emperor's duty to
impose it to his subjects. An imperial decree of 388, which was later
incorporated into the Codex Justinianus, 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
itself, which came to be known as the
Eastern Orthodox Church
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 pagans,
who existed until the end of the 6th century, and the 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 significant
religious crisis, which ended in 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
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
Georgian monasteries first appear in
Constantinople and on Mount
Olympos in northwestern
Asia Minor in the second half of the ninth
century, and from then on
Georgians played an increasingly important
role in the Empire.
Art and literature
Byzantine art and
Miniatures of the 6th-century
Rabula Gospel display the more abstract
and symbolic nature of
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 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,
Byzantine styles persisted in modified form through the 12th
century, and became formative influences on
Italian Renaissance art.
But few incoming influences affected
Byzantine style. By means of the
expansion of the Eastern Orthodox church,
Byzantine forms and styles
spread to all 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.
Byzantine literature, four different cultural elements are
recognised: the Greek, the Christian, the Roman, and the Oriental.
Byzantine literature is often classified in five groups: historians
and annalists, encyclopaedists (Patriarch Photios, Michael Psellus,
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
Romanos the Melodist
Romanos the Melodist being its most prominent
Late 4th century AD "
Mosaic of the Musicians" with organ, aulos, and
lyre from a
Byzantine villa in Maryamin, Syria
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 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.
Earliest known depiction of a bowed lyra, from a
casket (900 – 1100 AD). (Museo Nazionale, Florence)
The 9th century Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih (d. 911); in his
lexicographical discussion of instruments cited the 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
Byzantine regions, where it is known as the
Politiki lyra (lit.
"lyra of the City" i.e. 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. A
pipe organ with "great leaden pipes" was sent by the emperor
Constantine V to Pepin the Short, King of the
Franks in 757. Pepin's
Charlemagne requested a similar organ for his chapel in
812, beginning its establishment in Western church music. The
Byzantine instrument, 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. These bagpipes, also known as Dankiyo
(from ancient Greek: angion (Τὸ ἀγγεῖον) "the container"),
had been played even in Roman times.
Dio Chrysostom wrote in the 1st
century of a contemporary sovereign (possibly Nero) who could play a
pipe (tibia, Roman reedpipes similar to Greek aulos) with his mouth as
well as by tucking a bladder beneath his armpit. The bagpipes
continued to be played throughout the empire's former realms through
to the present. (See Balkan Gaida, Greek Tsampouna, Pontic Tulum,
Cretan Askomandoura, Armenian Parkapzuk, and Romanian Cimpoi.)
Constantinople apple quinces
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 garos, but it also contained foods still familiar
today, such as the cured meat pastirma (known as "paston" in Byzantine
Greek), baklava (known as koptoplakous
κοπτοπλακοῦς), tiropita (known as plakountas
tetyromenous or tyritas plakountas), and the famed medieval sweet
Commandaria and the eponymous Rumney wine). Retsina, wine
flavored 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
Holy Roman Emperor
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, a fermented barley sauce, which, like soy sauce,
provided umami flavoring to their dishes.
Flags and insignia
The double-headed imperial eagle, a common Imperial symbol
Byzantine flags and insignia
For most of its history, the
Empire did not know or use
heraldry in the West European sense. Various emblems (Greek:
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 of images of Christ, the
Virgin Mary and
various saints is also attested on seals of officials, but these were
personal rather than family emblems.
Further information: Medieval Greek
Left: The Mudil Psalter, the oldest complete psalter in the Coptic
language (Coptic Museum, Egypt, Coptic Cairo).
Right: The Joshua Roll, a 10th-century illuminated Greek manuscript
probably made in
Constantinople (Vatican Library, Rome).
Distribution of Greek dialects in
Anatolia in the late Byzantine
Empire through to 1923. Demotic in yellow. Pontic in orange.
Cappadocian in green. (Green dots indicate
Cappadocian Greek speaking
villages in 1910.)
Apart from the Imperial court, administration and military, the
primary language used in the eastern Roman provinces even before the
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
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 diglossic with the
spoken language, known as Koine (eventually evolving into Demotic
Greek), used alongside an older written form until Koine won out as
the spoken and written standard.
The use of Latin as the language of administration persisted until
formally abolished 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, Vulgar Latin
remained a minority language in the Empire, mainly along the Dalmatian
coast (Dalmatian) and among the Romanian peoples.
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 had become
more widely used by the educated classes in the far eastern
provinces. Similarly Coptic, Armenian, and Georgian became
significant among the educated in their provinces, and later
foreign contacts made Old Church Slavic, Middle Persian, and Arabic
important in the
Empire and its sphere of influence.
Aside from these, since
Constantinople was a prime trading center in
Mediterranean region and beyond, virtually every known language of
Middle Ages was spoken in the
Empire at some time, even
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.
A game of τάβλι (tabula) played by
Byzantine emperor Zeno in 480
and recorded by
Agathias in c. 530 because of a very unlucky dice
throw for Zeno (red), as he threw 2, 5 and 6 and was forced to leave
eight pieces alone.
Byzantines were avid players of 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 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
Theodosius II (r. 408–450) inside the Great Palace of
Basil I (r. 867–886) excelled at it; Emperor
Alexander (r. 912–913) died from exhaustion while playing, Emperor
Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118) was injured while playing with
John I of Trebizond (r. 1235–1238) died from a fatal
injury during a game. Aside from
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.
Byzantine economy and
Further information: Sino-Roman relations
A bronze coin of
Constantius II (337–361), found in Karghalik,
Aristocracy and bureaucracy
Byzantine economy was among the most advanced in
Europe and the
Mediterranean for many centuries. Europe, in particular, could not
Byzantine economic strength until late in the Middle Ages.
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
Until the first half of the 6th century and in sharp contrast with the
decaying West, the
Byzantine economy was flourishing and
Plague of Justinian
Plague of Justinian and the
Arab conquests would represent a
substantial reversal of fortunes contributing to a period of
stagnation and decline. Isaurian reforms and, in particular,
Constantine V'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
Empire projected an image of luxury and
travellers were impressed by the wealth accumulated in the
Fourth Crusade 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, it 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 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
Third Rome and Greek scholars in the Renaissance
David in robes of a
Byzantine emperor; miniature from the Paris
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. In the countries of Central and Southeast
Europe that exited the
Eastern Bloc in the late 1980s and early 1990s,
the assessment of
Byzantine civilisation and its legacy was strongly
negative due to their connection with an alleged "Eastern
authoritarianism and autocracy." 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 19th-century Greece, the focus was mainly on the classical past,
Byzantine tradition had been associated with negative
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
the 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 the classical knowledge, as
important contributors to the modern European civilization, and as
precursors of both the
Renaissance humanism and the Slav Orthodox
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
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,
Mehmed II took the title "Kaysar-i Rûm" (the Ottoman Turkish
equivalent of Caesar of Rome), since he was determined to make the
Ottoman Empire the heir of the Eastern Roman Empire. According to
Cameron, regarding themselves as "heirs" of Byzantium, the Ottomans
preserved important aspects of its tradition, which in turn
facilitated an "Orthodox revival" during the post-communist period of
the Eastern European states.
Byzantine Empire-related articles
Legacy of the Roman Empire
Family trees of the
Byzantine imperial dynasties
Byzantine revolts and civil wars
^ "Romania" was a popular name of the empire used mainly unofficially,
which meant "land of the Romans". After 1081, it occasionally
appears in official
Byzantine documents as well. In 1204, the leaders
Fourth Crusade gave the name
Romania to the newly founded Latin
Empire. The term does not refer to modern Romania.
^ Kaldellis 2015, p. 6
Byzantine Empire". Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ Kazhdan & Epstein 1985, p. 1.
^ a b Millar 2006, pp. 2, 15; James 2010, p. 5; Freeman
1999, pp. 431, 435–437, 459–462; Baynes & Moss 1948,
p. xx; Ostrogorsky 1969, p. 27; Kaldellis 2007,
pp. 2–3; Kazhdan & Constable 1982, p. 12; Norwich
1998, p. 383.
^ Ostrogorsky 1969, pp. 105–107, 109; Norwich 1998, p. 97;
Haywood 2001, pp. 2.17, 3.06, 3.15.
^ Haldon, John; Haldon, Shelby Cullom Davis 3.0. Professor of European
History Professor of History Hellenic Studies John (2002). Warfare,
State And Society In The
Byzantine World 560–1204. p. 47.
^ Pounds, Norman John Greville. An Historical Geography of Europe,
1500–1840, p. 124. CUP Archive, 1979. ISBN 0-521-22379-2.
^ "The End of the
Byzantine Empire, 1081–1453". Archived from the
original on 24 September 2015.
^ William Miller, Trebizond: The last Greek
Empire of the Byzantine
Era: 1204–1461, 1926 (Chicago: Argonaut, 1969), pp. 100–106
^ Fox, What, If Anything, Is a Byzantine?; Rosser 2011, p. 1
^ Rosser 2011, p. 2.
^ Fossier & Sondheimer 1997, p. 104.
^ Wolff 1948, pp. 5–7, 33–34.
^ Fatouros 1992, p. 862: "Γραικία: Graecia, imperium
byzantinum" (Theodori Studitae Epistulae, 145,19 and 458,28).
^ Cinnamus 1976, p. 240.
^ Institute for Neohellenic Research 2005, p. 8.
^ Ahrweiler & Laiou 1998, p. 3; Mango 2002, p. 13.
^ Gabriel 2002, p. 277.
^ Ahrweiler & Laiou 1998, p. vii; Davies 1996, p. 245;
Gross 1999, p. 45; Lapidge, Blair & Keynes 1998, p. 79;
Millar 2006, pp. 2, 15; Moravcsik 1970, pp. 11–12;
Ostrogorsky 1969, pp. 28, 146; Browning 1983, p. 113.
^ Klein 2004, p. 290 (Note #39); Annales Fuldenses, 389: "Mense
lanuario c. epiphaniam Basilii, Graecorum imperatoris, legati cum
muneribus et epistolis ad Hludowicum regem Radasbonam
^ Fouracre & Gerberding 1996, p. 345: "The Frankish court no
longer regarded the
Empire as holding valid claims of
universality; instead it was now termed the '
Empire of the Greeks'."
^ Garland 1999, p. 87.
^ Tarasov & Milner-Gulland 2004, p. 121; El-Cheikh 2004,
^ Eusebius, IV, lxii.
^ a b Ostrogorsky 1959, p. 21; Wells 1922, Chapter 33.
^ Bury 1923, p. 1; Kuhoff 2002, pp. 177–178.
^ Bury 1923, p. 1; Esler 2004, p. 1081; Gibbon 1906, Volume III,
Part IV, Chapter 18, p. 168; Teall 1967, pp. 13,19–23, 25,
^ Bury 1923, p. 63; Drake 1995, p. 5; Grant 1975, pp. 4, 12.
^ Bowersock 1997, p. 79
^ Greatrex & Lieu 2002, p. 1
^ Friell & Williams 2005, p. 105
^ Perrottet 2004, p. 190
^ Cameron 2009, pp. 54, 111, 153.
^ Alemany 2000, p. 207; Bayless 1976, pp. 176–177;
Treadgold 1997, pp. 184, 193.
^ Cameron 2009, p. 52.
^ a b Burns 1991, pp. 65, 76–77, 86–87
^ Lenski 1999, pp. 428–429.
^ Grierson 1999, p. 17.
^ Postan, Miller & Postan 1987, p. 140.
^ Chapman 1971, p. 210
^ Meier 2003, p. 290.
^ Wickham 2009, p. 90
^ Haldon 1990, p. 17
^ Evans 2005, p. 104
^ Gregory 2010, p. 150.
^ Merryman & Perez-Perdomo 2007, p. 7
^ Gregory 2010, p. 137; Meier 2003, pp. 297–300.
^ Gregory 2010, p. 145.
^ Evans 2005, p. xxv.
^ a b Bury 1923, pp. 180–216; Evans 2005, pp. xxvi, 76.
^ Sotinel 2005, p. 278; Treadgold 1997, p. 187.
^ Bury 1923, pp. 236–258; Evans 2005, p. xxvi.
^ Bury 1923, pp. 259–281; Evans 2005, p. 93.
^ Bury 1923, pp. 286–288; Evans 2005, p. 11.
^ Greatrex 2005, p. 489; Greatrex & Lieu 2002, p. 113
^ Bury 1920, "Preface", pp. v–vi
^ Evans 2005, pp. 11, 56–62; Sarantis 2009, passim.
^ Evans 2005, p. 65
^ Evans 2005, p. 68
^ Cameron 2009, pp. 113, 128.
^ Bray 2004, pp. 19–47; Haldon 1990, pp. 110–111;
Treadgold 1997, pp. 196–197.
^ a b Louth 2005, pp. 113–115; Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou 1970,
passim; Treadgold 1997, pp. 231–232.
^ Fine 1983, p. 33
^ Foss 1975, p. 722.
^ Haldon 1990, p. 41; Speck 1984, p. 178.
^ Haldon 1990, pp. 42–43.
^ Grabar 1984, p. 37; Cameron 1979, p. 23.
^ Cameron 1979, pp. 5–6, 20–22.
^ Norwich 1998, p. 93
^ Haldon 1990, p. 46; Baynes 1912, passim; Speck 1984,
^ Foss 1975, pp. 746–747.
^ Haldon 1990, p. 50.
^ Haldon 1990, pp. 61–62.
^ Haldon 1990, pp. 102–114; Laiou & Morisson 2007,
^ Laiou & Morisson 2007, pp. 38–42, 47; Wickham 2009,
^ Haldon 1990, pp. 208–215; Kaegi 2003, pp. 236, 283.
^ Heather 2005, p. 431.
^ Haldon 1990, pp. 43–45, 66, 114–115
^ a b Haldon 1990, pp. 66–67.
^ Haldon 1990, p. 71.
^ Haldon 1990, pp. 70–78, 169–171; Haldon 2004,
pp. 216–217; Kountoura-Galake 1996, pp. 62–75.
^ Cameron 2009, pp. 67–68.
^ Treadgold 1997, pp. 432–433.
^ Cameron 2009, pp. 167–170; Garland 1999, p. 89.
^ Parry 1996, pp. 11–15.
^ Cameron 2009, p. 267.
^ a b c d Browning 1992, p. 95.
^ a b c d Browning 1992, p. 96.
^ a b Karlin-Heyer 1967, p. 24.
^ a b c Browning 1992, p. 101.
^ Browning 1992, p. 107.
^ Browning 1992, p. 108.
^ Browning 1992, pp. 112.
^ Browning 1992, pp. 113.
^ a b c Browning 1992, p. 116.
^ Browning 1992, p. 100.
^ Browning 1992, pp. 102–103.
^ Browning 1992, pp. 103–105.
^ Browning 1992, pp. 106–107.
^ Browning 1992, pp. 112–113.
^ a b c Browning 1992, p. 115.
^ a b c Browning 1992, pp. 114–115.
^ a b Cameron 2009, p. 77.
^ a b Browning 1992, pp. 97–98.
^ Browning 1992, pp. 98–99.
^ Browning 1992, pp. 98–109.
^ Laiou & Morisson 2007, pp. 130–131; Pounds 1979,
^ Duiker & Spielvogel 2010, p. 317.
^ Timberlake 2004, p. 14.
^ Patterson 1995, p. 15.
^ Cameron 2009, p. 83.
^ Treadgold 1997, pp. 548–549.
^ a b Markham, "The Battle of Manzikert".
^ Vasiliev 1928–1935, "Relations with Italy and Western Europe".
^ Hooper & Bennett 1996, p. 82; Stephenson 2000, p. 157.
^ Šišić 1990.
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^ a b Browning 1992, p. 190.
^ Cameron 2006, pp. 46.
^ Cameron 2006, pp. 42.
^ Cameron 2006, pp. 47.
^ a b Browning 1992, pp. 198–208.
^ a b Browning 1992, p. 218.
^ Magdalino 2002, p. 124.
^ a b "
Byzantine Empire". Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ Birkenmeier 2002.
^ a b Harris 2014; Read 2000, p. 124; Watson 1993, p. 12.
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^ Komnene 1928, Alexiad, 11.291
^ Komnene 1928, Alexiad, 13.348–13.358; Birkenmeier 2002,
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^ Ostrogorsky 1969, p. 377.
^ Birkenmeier 2002, p. 90.
^ Cinnamus 1976, pp. 74–75.
^ Harris 2014, p. 84.
^ Brooke 1962, p. 326.
^ Magdalino 2002, p. 74.
^ Sedlar 1994, p. 372.
^ Magdalino 2002, p. 67.
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^ Birkenmeier 2002, p. 1.
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^ Norwich 1998, p. 299.
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Empire on In Our Time at the BBC.
De Imperatoribus Romanis. Scholarly biographies of many Byzantine
Byzantine Rulers by Lars Brownworth of The Stony Brook School;
audio lectures. NYTimes review.
18 centuries of
Roman Empire by Howard Wiseman (Maps of the
Empire throughout its lifetime).
Byzantine & Christian Museum
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Fox, Clinton R. What, If Anything, Is a Byzantine? (Online
Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors)
Byzantine studies homepage at Dumbarton Oaks. Includes links to
numerous electronic texts.
Byzantine studies on the Internet. Links to various online
Byzantine Sources: The Imperial Centuries, c.
700–1204. Online sourcebook.
De Re Militari. Resources for medieval history, including numerous
translated sources on the
Medieval Sourcebook: Byzantium. Numerous primary sources on Byzantine
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the University of Vienna; in English.
Constantinople Home Page. Links to texts, images and videos on
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