east and west roman empire

-500: Former Western Roman Empire states (at least some of them) were ruled by German kings (France), Louis the German got the East (Germany). The Western Roman Empire fell apart in the 5th century AD. The Eastern Roman Empire, known as Byzantine Empire after emperor Constantine, collapsed with the. The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the. east and west roman empire

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Crisis of the Third Century of the Roman Empire DOCUMENTARY

When Did the Roman Empire Start and End?

The Roman Empire was one of the greatest and most influential civilisations in the world and lasted for over a 1000 years. The extent and length of their reign has made it hard to trace their rise to power and their fall. That’s where we come in…

We’ve gone ahead and done the research for you so you can learn more about this fascinating part of history which all started current home interest loan rates the city of Rome, Italy. There are some things we should clarify however, before we get started. It’s important to realise that the Rome Empire was a period encompassed by Ancient Rome. Ancient Rome refers to the very beginning of the city of Rome, founded in the 8th century BC, and it’s expansion, through to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. It’s different stages and developments have been split into the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.

The Start of the Empire

Roman Empire

Before the Empire, the Roman Republic existed, governing the land for 500 years. The Republic, first situated in Rome expanded out to the rest of Italy and then to North Africa and the Mediterranean. It is hard to trace the wars and success the Romans had during the Republic as historical writing in Rome didn’t start until the late 3rd century BC. What we do know however, is that the Republic’s authority soon started to fade due to its incapability to adjust to their expanding power. With the overwhelming difference between the rich and the poor, a new practice took place where the army was paid with gold. This resulted in soldiers no longer fighting for the republic, but rather for their generals. Julius Caesar, a military leader, took this opportunity and seized control, becoming dictator of Rome that dismantled the government. This is what initiated the beginning of the Roman Empire. Caesar’s order to the Senate to make him dictator for life was the last straw, resulting in his assassination in 44 BC. However, the senator’s plan were all in vain as the crumbling Roman Republic finally died along with Caesar, transforming the entire expanse into the Roman Empire. It was Caesar’s adopted son Octavian who replaced him as leader of the Empire, becoming to be known as Emperor Augustus, igniting a period of peace and authority across Rome and the rest of the Empire edmonds community college spanish classes Romana). This period also saw the peak of Roman power, controlling the North African Coast, Egypt, Southern Europe, most of Western Europe, the Balkans, Crimea and much of the Middle East, including Anatolia, Levant and parts of Mesopotamia and Arabia. With the vastness of their reign, scholars have split www edd ca Roman Empire into Western and Eastern making it easier to follow the Empire’s developments and its collapse. 

The End of the Empire

Roman Empire

The Empire is famous worldwide as one of the greatest civilisations in history. But it is also famed for its end, famously named ‘The Fall of Rome.’ There are many different factors that contributed to its end, all blending together to create the unstable ruling that let Rome crumble. The Empire’s military for example, once a domineering army, became a draining factor. Military spending was astronomical, which left little money for anything else in the empire. The loss in battles resulted in more soldiers being hired to maintain control over the land, with more and more money spent. But even with this higher investment, the number of battles loss grew and the control over lands lessened, causing more vulnerability particularly to the Western Empire. Due to military spending, slavery was a key factor in keeping the Empire afloat. However, new laws banned slavery, which increased unemployment and decreased the Empire’s finance even more. The hardships caused people to stir with unrest, and with a new religion being introduced, more and more civilians lost their faith in the Emperor, who was once seen as a God, and turned to Christianity instead. The people’s fading hope in the Emperor led to corruption and political dispute, weakening the Empire from within. Emperors were constantly murdered and replaced, with the Senate attempting to gain more control. 

The success of the Roman Empire largely relied on its military forces, so when the army started to weaken, naturally the Empire began to collapse. This is not something that happened overnight however. With the Empires large expansion different areas of the Empire started to weaken at different times. Their sheer size was a large part of why the Roman Empire collapsed, it simply became too big for its own good, making it hard to govern. It was the Western Roman Empire that fell first, the Eastern Roman Empire only following another 1000 years later. This was the first time in 800 years that the city of Rome had been sacked, officially ending the Roman Empire and leading to the Dark Ages.

Although a huge international power, the fall of the Roman Empire was good for the average citizen, as life for those not blessed with wealth was hard, even harder if you were a slave. Nevertheless, we no doubt owe much of our modern ways to the policies and engineering developed during Ancient Rome.

Related article: How was Cleopatra connected with the Roman Empire?

Previous article: Who were the main Roman gods?

Источник: https://www.romecitytour.it/blog/when-did-the-roman-empire-start-and-end/

Constantine the Great and the Beginning of Byzantium

Learning Objective

  • Explain the role of Constantine in Byzantine Empire history

Key Points

  • The Byzantine Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire) was distinct from the Western Roman Empire in several ways; most importantly, the Byzantines were Christians and spoke Greek instead of Latin.
  • The founder of the Byzantine Empire and its first emperor, Constantine the Great, moved the capital of the Roman Empire to the city of Byzantium in 330 CE, and renamed it Constantinople.
  • Constantine the Great also legalized Christianity, which had previously been persecuted in the Roman Empire. Christianity would become a major element of Byzantine culture.
  • Constantinople became the largest city in the empire and a major commercial center, while the Western Roman Empire fell in 476 CE.



An Abrahamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and various scholars who wrote the Christian Bible. It was legalized in the Byzantine Empire by Constantine the Great, and the religion became a major element of Byzantine culture.

Germanic barbarians

An uncivilized or uncultured person, originally compared to the hellenistic Greco-Roman civilization; often associated with fighting or other such shows of strength.

It is a matter of debate when the Roman Empire officially ended and transformed into the Byzantine Empire. Most scholars accept that it did not happen at one time, but that it was a slow process; thus, late Roman history overlaps with early Byzantine history. Constantine I (“the Great”) is usually held to be the founder of the Byzantine Empire. He was responsible for several major changes that would help create a Byzantine culture distinct from the Roman past.

As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. As the first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the development of Christianity as the religion of the empire. In military matters, the Roman army was reorganized to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers—the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians—, and even resettled territories abandoned by his predecessors during the turmoil of the previous century.

The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself (the laudatory epithet of “New Rome” came later, and was never an official title). It would later become the capital of the empire for over one thousand years; for this reason the later Eastern Empire would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire. His more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletian’s tetrarchy (government where power is divided among four individuals) with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children, and for centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity.


Constantine the Great. Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great presents a representation of the city of Constantinople as tribute to an enthroned Mary and Christ Child in this church mosaic. St Sophia, c. 1000 CE.

Constantine moved the seat of the empire, and introduced important changes into its civil and religious constitution. In 330, he founded Constantinople as a second Rome on the site of Byzantium, which was well-positioned astride the trade routes between east and west; it was a superb base from which to guard the Danube river, and was reasonably close to the eastern frontiers. Constantine also began the building of the great fortified walls, which were expanded and rebuilt in subsequent ages. J. B. Bury asserts that “the foundation of Constantinople […] inaugurated a permanent division between the Eastern and Western, the Greek and the Latin, halves of the empire—a division nearest wells fargo atm to my current location which citizens bank auto loan online account had already pointed—and affected decisively the whole subsequent history of Europe.”

Constantine built upon the administrative reforms introduced by Diocletian. He stabilized the coinage (the gold solidus that he introduced became a highly prized and stable currency), and made changes to the structure of the army. Under Constantine, the empire had recovered much of its military strength and enjoyed a period of stability and prosperity. He also reconquered southern parts of Dacia, after defeating the Visigoths in 332, and he was planning a campaign against Sassanid Persia as well. To divide administrative responsibilities, Constantine replaced the single praetorian prefect, who had traditionally exercised both military and civil functions, with regional prefects enjoying civil authority alone. In the course of the 4th century, four great sections emerged from these Constantinian beginnings, and the practice of separating civil from military authority persisted until the 7th century.

Constantine was the first emperor to stop Christian persecutions and to legalize Christianity, as well as all other religions and cults in the Roman Empire.

In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan, where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith without oppression. This removed penalties for professing Christianity, under which many had been martyred previously, and returned confiscated Church property. The edict protected from religious persecution not only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity they chose.

Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted Christianity in his youth from his mother, St. Helena, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic persecution. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica.

The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having great influence and ultimate regulatory authority within the religious discussions involving the early Christian councils of that time (most notably, the dispute over Arianism, and the nature of God). Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy. One way in which Constantine used his influence over the early Church councils was to seek to establish a consensus over the oft debated and argued issue over the nature of God. In 325, he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council. The Council of Nicaea is most known for its dealing with Arianism and for instituting the Nicene Creed, which is still used today by Christians.

After Constantine, few emperors ruled the entire Roman Empire. It was too big and was under attack from too many directions. Usually, there was an emperor of the Western Roman Empire ruling from Italy or Gaul, and an emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire ruling from Constantinople. While the Western Empire was overrun by Germanic barbarians (its lands in Italy were conquered by the Ostrogoths, Spain was conquered by the Visigoths, North Africa was conquered by the Vandals, and Gaul was conquered by the Franks), the Eastern Empire thrived. Constantinople became the largest city in the empire and a major commercial center. In 476 CE, the last Western Roman Emperor was deposed and the Western Roman Empire was no more. Thus the Eastern Roman Empire was the only Roman Empire left standing.

Источник: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hccc-worldhistory/chapter/the-eastern-roman-empire-constantine-the-great-and-byzantium/

Why did Rome fall?

When the Roman Empire was at its height, the emperor's reach stretched from the rain-sodden hills of northern England to the parched deserts of Saudi Arabia. But when did it start to go wrong? Why did Rome fall?

The answer, it turns happy 1st birthday personalised banner, is not straightforward. Some argue the sacking of Rome in A.D. 410 by the Visigoths is as good a marker as any for the end, while others say it wasn't until the Middle Ages that the empire's tenure was finally concluded. Largely speaking, it depends on which Rome we're talking about. In A.D. 395 the Roman Empire was split in two, ever after separately administered as the Western Roman Empire with Rome as its capital and the Byzantine, Eastern Roman Empire with Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) as its capital, according to HistoryHit, an online-only history channel.

"We tend to think of the Byzantines as this separate people and state from the Romans, but they called themselves "Romanoi" and saw themselves as citizens of a Roman government," said Kristina Sessa, associate professor of history at The Ohio State University. 

The fates of these two jurisdictions inevitably diverged. The Western Roman Empire fragmented as various provinces suffered economic and political disrepair within decades of the split. The Eastern Roman Empire was meanwhile comparatively prosperous for several centuries. "You need to distinguish these different regional trajectories," Sessa told Live Science.

Related: Deformed 'alien' skulls offer clues about life during the Roman Empire's collapse

The West crumbled because of a creeping and steady loss of centralized control, sometimes due to incursions by non-Roman tribes and occasionally instigated by traitors from within the Roman establishment. It's hard to mark the precise moment when Rome lost control over a given territory, because unlike the decolonization of imperial empires in the 20th century, it was rare to make or sign documents and declarations of independence. There were however, landmark battles — between A.D. 460 and A.D. 480, the Visigoths had managed to take substantial parts of what is now France. But still, the decline of Western Rome was a fairly gradual, nebulous process wherein colonies, one by one, were no longer realistically under the sway of an emperor in Rome. Instead, autonomous local leaders were increasingly in charge. 

"In some cases, these were Roman usurpers," who used coups to take power, said Sessa. In other cases, these autonomous pay my verizon prepaid bill were headed by so-called barbarian regimes. But the barbarians — such as the Franks, Saxons and Vandals — weren't simply raiders from foreign lands chipping away at a weaker Rome. That's selling those groups short. "That map with all the arrows of invaders coming into the empire from beyond and taking it over, which commonly appears in textbooks, is flat out wrong," said Sessa. Many of the barbarians were coalitions of soldiers that had been working with and for the Roman Empires for several generations.

"They had been living and working inside the Roman Empire, on behalf of the Roman Empire, for decades if not centuries," said Sessa. That gave the barbarians the opportunity to learn Roman tactics and expertise, which they then applied against the empire, resulting in a series of withering military defeats for the Romans. "The Roman frontier wasn't a border in the modern sense of the nation state. It was simply a region of diminishing Roman influence where people moved freely around," she said. 

In that context, it's easy to see how the frontier could shrink over time. "Without a central state, taxes were no longer regularly collected in most areas of the West, which obviously impacted the military," explained Sessa. Dwindling tax revenue made it increasingly tough for Rome to muster enough legions to reclaim lands the barbarians had taken.

While the Roman Empire in Western Europe was going to hell in a handbasket, the Eastern Romans carried on. "The East, by comparison, remained consolidated and focused around the city of Constantinople," said Sessa.

Its demise, however, was very much at the hands of an outside invading force.

"It was over the course of the seventh and eighth centuries that the Eastern Empire began to undergo a similar political fragmentation, though in this case we are talking about external armies and regimes; the Persians, the Slavs and the Arabs," she added. It wasn't until 1453, when the Ottomans sacked Constantinople, that we can truly say the Roman Empire ended.

Originally published on Live Science.

Источник: https://www.livescience.com/why-did-rome-fall.html

Rome Didn't Fall When You Think It Did. Here's Why That Fabricated History Still Matters Today

In September of 476 AD, the barbarian commander Odoacer forced the teenaged Western Roman emperor Romulus Augustus to resign his office. The Constantinopolitan chronicler Marcellinus Comes would write in the 510s that when “Odoacer, king of the Goths, took control of Rome” the “Western Empire of the Roman people … perished.” But no one thought this at the time. The fall of Rome in 476 is a historical turning point that was invented nearly 50 years later as a pretext for a devastating war. The fact that it has since become recognized as the end of an epoch shows how history can be misused to justify otherwise unpalatable actions in the present—and how that misuse can also distort the lessons future generations take from the past.

Although everyone from schoolchildren to scholars now learn that the Western Roman Empire fell in 476, 5th century Romans did not see anything particularly special about Odoacer’s coup. Nine different Western Roman emperors had risen and fallen since 455 and most of them had been overthrown by barbarian commanders like Odoacer. In four cases, the barbarian generals toppled one emperor and delayed appointing another. One of these imperial vacancies stretched for 20 months, a span longer than the entire reigns of more than 20 previous Roman emperors. Even Romulus Augustus himself was a usurper who assumed the imperial office after an imperfectly executed coup that left Julius Nepos, the legitimate emperor Romulus replaced, still in charge of Western Roman imperial territories in what is now Croatia. In other words, while the West had lost an imperial usurper in 476, it still had a legitimate Roman emperor.

Odoacer maintained most of the structures of the Roman government during the nearly 17 years he controlled the state. The Senate continued to meet in Rome just as it had for nearly a millennium. Latin remained the language of administration. Roman law governed the land. Roman armies continued to fight and win victories on the frontiers. And Roman emperors appeared on the coins that Odoacer minted. These coins showed Julius Nepos at first and then, after Nepos’s death in 480, they featured the busts of the Eastern Roman emperors who reigned in Constantinople.

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These aspects of Roman life continued after the Gothic ruler Theoderic overthrew Odoacer in 493. Theoderic proved even more successful than Odoacer in reviving Italian fortunes after the political chaos of the mid-5th century. His armies campaigned successfully in modern Croatia, Serbia and France. He made much of Spain into a protectorate for a time. Large scale repairs were made to churches and public buildings throughout Italy. Either Theoderic or Odoacer undertook renovations to the Colosseum following which senators proudly inscribed their names and offices on their seats.

Rather than imagining that Roman rule had ended in 476, Italians in the late 5th and early 6th centuries spoke about its recovery. Bishop Ennodius of Pavia spoke of the “filth” that Theoderic “washed away from the greater part of Italy,” leaving Rome, as it emerged from “the ashes,” “living again.” Theoderic’s military victories meant that “the Roman empire has returned to its former boundary” and returned “the culture of our ancestors” to Romans who had lived in the regions he reconquered. Ennodius even went so far as to claim that “the revival of Roman renown brought Theoderic forward” as a rival to Alexander the Great because he had sparked a Roman “Golden Age.”

How did it happen that Odoacer’s coup, the beginning of this Roman resurgence, instead came to be seen as the fall of Rome? The answer lies not in Italy but in Constantinople. As Italian power returned under Odoacer and Theoderic, relations with the Eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople deteriorated. By the time of Theoderic’s death in 526, Romans in Constantinople had begun considering the possibility of invading Italy.

Read more: The Fall of Rome and the Lessons for America

It is at this moment of East-West tension that we can return to Marcellinus Comes. Marcellinus’s Chronicle appeared in the late 510s and represents the first historical work known to claim that Rome fell in 476. Marcellinus’s text also gives away why he said this. Marcellinus describes Odoacer as “the king of the Goths” when he caused the Roman Empire to “perish.” This is a fabrication. Odoacer was not a Goth. Theoderic, however, was a Gothic king and he had taken power from Odoacer. As the Gothic-led Western Roman state found itself in increasing tension with Constantinople, the fall of Rome emerged as a way to justify an Eastern Roman invasion that would restore Italy to Eastern Roman control.

Marcellinus did not invent this idea in a vacuum. He served in Constantinople as an aide to the future Eastern Roman emperor Justinian, who was at the time the imperial heir apparent. Marcellinus later received several honorific titles from Justinian midwest community bank locations the publication of his Chronicle, a work that bluntly hammers home its main theme that the Western Empire had fallen and Justinian’s Eastern Roman Empire should restore it.

This propaganda worked well. In 535, Eastern Roman armies attacked Italy. Justinian explained this aggression by claiming that “the Goths have used force to take Italy, which was ours, and have refused to give it back.” His troops entered the city of Rome in December of 536. On this day, Justinian’s official historian Procopius wrote, “Rome became subject to the Romans again after a time of 60 years.” The number 60 was not arbitrarily chosen. The capture of Rome by the East came 60 years and three months after Odoacer’s coup of 476.

Despite these initial successes, Justinian’s armies struggled to consolidate control over the peninsula. The Italian war did not conclude vera bradley broadway at the beach 562 and the fighting devastated both the city of Rome and much of Italy. Goths recaptured Rome in 546, lost it in 547, retook it in 549, and then lost the city for good in 552. Residents of Rome survived by eating weeds, mice and dung during a long Gothic siege in 546. It is estimated that Rome’s population fell from perhaps 500,000 in the mid-5th century to as little as 25,000 in the 560s. Other Italian cities suffered even worse fates. Milan, once Italy’s second largest city, was razed to the ground in 539 with its entire population either killed or enslaved. The Eastern Roman Empire had recovered Italy—and destroyed much of it in the process.

The Western Roman Empire had clearly fallen by the 560s. Italy was controlled by Justinian, many of its cities were barclays mobile banking apk and much of its infrastructure was severely damaged. When later historians looked for the moment when the Western Empire fell, they found Marcellinus and his claim that Rome fell under Odoacer. In the memorable framing by the historian Brian Croke, the fall of Rome in 476 is a manufactured historical turning point that has become an accepted historical fact. But it was Justinian’s invasion, not Odoacer’s coup that decimated Italy and ended the Western Roman state. For 1,500 years, we have picked the wrong time and blamed the wrong person for the fall of Rome.

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This mistake matters for two reasons. First, Marcellinus’s manufactured fall of Rome helped create conditions that permitted Justinian to launch a war that killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed the prosperity that Roman rule had once created in the West. His words had real, deadly and new home shopping list consequences.

Second, the manufactured fall of Rome reveals the unstable boundaries between historical epochs. For 1,500 years, Odoacer’s coup has concluded a cautionary tale about how barbarian commanders in the Roman army ended Rome’s empire. People around the world have scrutinized this story so that their societies may avoid suffering Rome’s fate. But, if we recognize that Rome did not fall in 476, the lessons we take from Roman history become quite different. Rome’s story then does not warn us of the danger of barbarous outsiders toppling a society from within. It instead shows how a false claim that a nation has perished can help cause the very problems its author invented. We ignore this danger at our peril.

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Источник: https://time.com/6101964/fabricated-fall-rome-lessons-history/

Byzantine Empire

Roman Homes for sale in strafford nh during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

"Byzantine" redirects here. For other uses, see Byzantine (disambiguation).

Byzantine Empire

Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, Basileía Rhōmaíōn
Imperium Romanum

The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (its vassals in pink)

The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (its vassals in pink)

The change of territory of the Byzantine Empire (476–1400)

The change of territory of the Byzantine Empire (476–1400)


and largest city

(395–1204, 1261–1453)
Common languages
Notable emperors 

• 306–337

Constantine I

• 395–408


• 402–450

Theodosius II

• 527–565

Justinian I

• 610–641


• 717–741


• 797–802


• 867–886

Basil I

• 976–1025

Basil II

• 1042–1055

Constantine IX

• 1081–1118

Alexios I

• 1259–1282

Michael VIII

• 1449–1453

Constantine XI
Historical eraLate Antiquity to Late Middle Ages

• First division of the Roman Empire (diarchy)

1 April 286

• Founding of Constantinople

11 May 330

• Final East–West division after the death of Theodosius I

17 January 395

• Fall of Rome; deposition of Romulus Augustulus by Odoacer

4 September 476

• Assassination of Julius Nepos; nominal end of the Western Roman Empire

25 April 480

• Muslim conquests; rich provinces of Syria and Egypt lost; naval dominance of Mediterranean ended; start of the Byzantine Dark Ages


• Fourth Crusade; establishment of the Latin Empire by Catholic crusaders

12 April 1204

• Reconquest of Constantinople by Michael VIII Palaiologos

25 July 1261

• Fall of Constantinople

29 May 1453

• Fall of Morea

31 May 1460

• Fall of Trebizond

15 August 1461

• 457


• 565


• 775


• 1025


• 1320

CurrencySolidus, denarius and hyperpyron
  1. ^ Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων may be transliterated in Latin as Basileia Rhōmaiōn (literally meaning Monarchy of the Romans, but commonly rendered Empire of the Romans).
  2. ^ Roman Empire
  3. ^ Between 1204 and 1261 there was an interregnum when the Empire was divided into the Empire of Nicaea, the Empire of Trebizond and the Despotate of Epirus, which were all contenders for rule of the Empire. The Empire of Nicaea is considered the legitimate continuation of the Byzantine Empire because it managed to retake Constantinople.
  4. ^ Constantinople became the capital of the (united) empire in dare county nc sample ballot. In 395 the empire was divided in western and eastern halves.
  5. ^ See Population of the Byzantine Empire for more detailed figures taken provided by McEvedy and Jones, Atlas of World Population History, 1978, as well as Angeliki E. Laiou, The Economic History of Byzantium, 2002.

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of east and west roman empire Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional closest super walmart to me now years until it fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe.

"Byzantine Empire" is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire (Medieval Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, romanized: Basileía Rhōmaíōn) or Romania (Medieval Greek: Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as Romans (Medieval Greek: Ῥωμαῖοι, romanized: Rhōmaîoi) – a term which Greeks continued to use for themselves into Ottoman times. Although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from its earlier incarnation because it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. 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 state religion and other religious practices were proscribed. In the reign of Heraclius (r. 610–641), the Empire's military and administration were restructured and Greek was adopted for official use in place of Latin.

The borders of the empire fluctuated through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the empire reached its greatest extent, m in hand lines reconquering much of the historically Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa, Italy and Rome, which it held for two more centuries. The Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's wells fargo cashiers check template, and during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, it lost its richest provinces, Egypt and Syria, to the Rashidun Caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty (10th–11th centuries), the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, and by the 12th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe. The empire was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire formerly governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans in the Byzantine–Ottoman wars over the 14th and 15th centuries. The fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire. The Empire of Trebizond was conquered eight years later in the 1461 siege. The last of the successor states, the Principality of Theodoro, was conquered by the Ottomans in 1475.


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, 104 years after the empire's collapse, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.[citation needed] The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city to which Constantine moved his capital, leaving Rome, and rebuilt under the new name of Constantinople. The older name of the city was rarely used from this point onward except in historical or south state bank routing number for wires contexts. The publication in 1648 of the 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.[2] However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world.[3]

The Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire" or the "Empire of the Romans" (Latin: Imperium Romanum, Imperium Romanorum; Medieval Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Ἀρχὴ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, romanized: Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn, Archē tōn Rhōmaiōn), Romania (Latin: Romania; Medieval Greek: Ῥωμανία, romanized: Rhōmania),[note 1] the Roman Republic (Latin: Res Publica Romana; Medieval Greek: Πολιτεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, romanized: Politeia tōn Rhōmaiōn), or in Greek "Rhōmais" (Medieval Greek: Ῥωμαΐς).[6] The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and even as late as the 19th century Greeks typically referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic".[7] After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was mostly confined to its purely Greek provinces the term 'Hellenes' was increasingly used instead.[8]

While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history[9] and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions,[10] it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its increasingly predominant Greek element.[11] Western medieval sources also referred to the empire as the "Empire of the Greeks" (Latin: Imperium Graecorum) and to its emperor as Imperator Graecorum (Emperor of the Greeks);[12] these terms were used to distinguish it from the Holy Roman Empire that claimed the prestige of the classical Roman Empire in the West.[13]

No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known primarily as Rûm.[14] The name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans until the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire, that is, the Orthodox Christian community within Ottoman realms.


Main article: History of the Byzantine Empire

Early history[edit]

By the third century AD, the Roman army had conquered 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 urbanized than the western, having previously been united under the Macedonian Empire and Hellenised by the influence of Greek culture.[15]

The West also suffered more heavily from the instability of the 3rd century. This distinction between the established Hellenised East and the younger Latinised West persisted and became increasingly important in later centuries, leading to a gradual estrangement of the two worlds.[15]

An early instance of the partition of the Empire into East and West occurred in 293 when Emperor Diocletian created a new university of the west indies mona masters programmes 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. Each tetrarch was in charge of a part of the Empire. The tetrarchy collapsed, however, in 313 and a few years later Constantine I reunited the two administrative divisions of the Empire as sole Augustus.[16]

Christianization and partition of the Empire[edit]

See also: Byzantine Empire under the Constantinian and Valentinianic dynasties

In 330, Constantine moved the seat of the Empire to Constantinople, which he founded as a second Rome on the site of Byzantium, a city strategically located on the trade routes between Europe and Asia and between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Constantine introduced important changes to the Empire's military, monetary, civil and religious institutions. In regards to his economic policies he ballard food bank donations 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.[17]

Under Constantine, Christianity did not become the exclusive religion of the state but enjoyed imperial preference since he supported it with generous privileges. Constantine established the principle that emperors could not settle questions of doctrine on their own but homes for sale in glen haven colorado instead summon general ecclesiastical councils for that purpose. His convening of both the Synod of Arles and the First Council of Nicaea indicated his interest in the unity of the Church and showcased his claim to be its head.[18] The rise of Christianity was briefly interrupted on the accession of the emperor Julian in 361, who made a determined effort to restore polytheism throughout the empire and was thus dubbed "Julian the Apostate" by the Church. However, this was reversed when Julian was killed in battle in 363.

Theodosius I (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 codifying Roman law with the Codex Theodosianus 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.[citation needed]

To fend off the Huns, Theodosius had to pay an enormous annual tribute to Attila. His successor, Marcian, refused to continue to pay the tribute, but Attila had already diverted his attention to the Western Roman Empire. After Attila's death in 453, the Hun Empire collapsed, and many of the remaining Huns were often hired as mercenaries by Constantinople.[24]

Loss of the Western Roman Empire[edit]

After the fall of Attila, the Eastern Empire enjoyed a period of peace, while the Western Empire continued to deteriorate due to the expanding migration and invasions of the barbarians, most prominently the Germanic nations. The West's end is usually dated 476 when the East Germanic Roman foederati general Odoacer deposed the Western Emperor Romulus Augustulus, a year after the latter usurped the position from Julius Nepos.[25]

In 480 with the death of Julius Nepos, Eastern Emperor Zeno became sole claimant to Emperor of the empire. Odoacer, now ruler of Italy, was nominally Zeno's subordinate but acted with complete autonomy, eventually providing support to a rebellion against the Emperor.[26]

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") to depose Odoacer. By urging Theodoric to conquer Italy, Zeno rid the Eastern Empire of an unruly subordinate (Odoacer) and moved another (Theodoric) further from the free food events near me today 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).[26]

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.[27] Anastasius revealed himself as an energetic reformer and an able administrator. He introduced a new coinage system of the copper follis, the coin used in most everyday transactions.[28] 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 (roughly worth US$8.3 billion today).[29]

Justinian dynasty[edit]

See also: Byzantine Empire under the Justinian dynasty

The Byzantine Empire in c. 600 during the reign of Maurice. Half of the Italian peninsula and most of southern Hispania were banks on state street, but the eastern borders expanded gaining land from the Persians.

The Justinian dynasty was founded by Justin I, who though illiterate, rose through the ranks of the military to become Emperor in 518.[31] He was succeeded by his nephew Justinian I in 527, who may already have exerted effective control during Justin's reign.[32] One of the most important figures of late antiquity and possibly the last Roman emperor to speak Latin as a first language,[33] Justinian's rule constitutes a distinct epoch, marked by the ambitious but only partly realised renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire".[34] His wife Theodora was particularly influential.[35]

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 tiaa layoffs, 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.[36] The Corpus forms the basis of civil law of many modern states.[37]

In 532, attempting to secure his eastern frontier, Justinian signed a peace treaty with Khosrau I of Persia, agreeing to pay a large annual east and west roman empire to the Sassanids. In the same year, he survived a revolt in Constantinople east and west roman empire Nika riots), which solidified his power but ended with the deaths of a reported 30,000 to 35,000 rioters on his orders.[38] The western conquests began in 533, as Justinian sent his general Belisarius to reclaim the former province of Africa from the Vandals, who had been in control since 429 with their capital at Carthage.[39] Their success came with surprising ease, but it was not until 548 that the major local tribes were subdued.[40]

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 sieges of Naples and Rome.[41] 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 MonophysitePatriarch Anthimus I of Constantinopledenounced, despite Empress Theodora's support and protection.[42]

The Ostrogoths captured Rome in 546. Belisarius, who had been sent back to Italy in 544, was eventually recalled to Constantinople in 549.[43] The arrival of the Armenian eunuch Narses in Italy (late 551) with an army of 35,000 men marked another shift in Gothic fortunes. Totila was defeated at the Battle of Taginae and his successor, Teia, was defeated at the 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.[44] In 551, Athanagild, a noble from VisigothicHispania, 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 the Iberian Peninsula coast until the reign of Heraclius.[45]

In the east, the Roman–Persian Wars continued until 561 when the envoys of Justinian and Khosrau agreed on a 50-year peace.[46] 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 Serbs and Croats were later resettled in the northwestern Balkans, during the reign of Heraclius.[47] Justinian called Belisarius out of retirement and defeated the new Hunnish threat. China bank savings home loan calculator 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.[48]

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.[49]Hellenistic philosophy began to be gradually amalgamated into newer Christian philosophy. Philosophers such as John Philoponus drew on neoplatonic ideas in addition obesity deaths in america 2019 Christian thought and empiricism. Because of active paganism of its professors, Justinian closed down the Neoplatonic Academy in 529. Other schools continued in Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria, which were the centres of Justinian's empire.[50] Hymns written by Romanos the Melodist marked the development of the Divine Liturgy, while the architects 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.[51] 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.[52] Great bathhouses were built in Byzantine centers such as Constantinople and Antioch.

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. Although Tiberius' general, Maurice, led an effective campaign on the eastern frontier, subsidies failed to restrain the Avars. They captured the Balkan fortress of Sirmium in 582, while the Slavs began to make inroads across the Danube.[54]

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.[54] 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.[55]

Shrinking borders[edit]

Early Heraclian dynasty[edit]

Further information: Byzantine Empire under the Heraclian dynasty

By 650 (pictured) the empire had lost all its southern provinces, except the Exarchate of Africa, to the Rashidun Caliphate. At the same time the Slavs invaded and settled in the Balkans.

After Maurice's murder by Phocas, Khosrau used the pretext to reconquer the Roman province of Mesopotamia.[56] 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 Constantinople from Carthage with an icon affixed to the prow of his ship.[57]

Following the accession of Heraclius, the Sassanid advance pushed deep into the Levant, occupying Damascus and Jerusalem and removing the True Cross to Ctesiphon.[58] 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[59] (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).[60] 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.[61] Following this, Heraclius led an invasion into Sassanid Mesopotamia once again.

The main Sassanid force was destroyed at Nineveh in 627, and in 629 Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony,[62] 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 territories of Mesopotamia and 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.[63] The Byzantines suffered a crushing defeat by the Arabs at the Battle of Yarmouk in 636, while Ctesiphon fell in 637.[64]

First Arab siege of Constantinople (674–678) and the east and west roman empire system[edit]

The Arabs, now firmly in control of Syria and the Levant, sent frequent raiding parties deep into Asia Minor, and in 674–678 laid siege to Constantinople itself. The Arab fleet was finally repulsed through the use of Greek fire, and a thirty-years' truce was signed between the Empire and the Umayyad Caliphate.[65] 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.[66] Constantinople itself dropped substantially in size, from 500,000 inhabitants to just 40,000–70,000, and, like other urban centres, it was partly ruralised. The city also lost the free grain shipments in 618, after Egypt fell first to the Persians and then to the Arabs, and public wheat distribution ceased.[67]

The void left by the disappearance of the old semi-autonomous civic institutions was filled by the system called theme, which entailed dividing Asia Minor into "provinces" occupied by distinct armies that assumed civil authority and answered directly to the imperial administration. This system may have had its roots in certain ad hoc measures taken by Heraclius, but over the course of the 7th century it developed into an entirely new system of imperial governance.[68] 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.[69]

Late Heraclian dynasty[edit]

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.[70] 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.[71]

In 681, Constantine IV signed a treaty with the Bulgar khan Asparukh, and the new Bulgarian state assumed sovereignty over several Slavic tribes that had previously, at least in name, recognised Byzantine rule.[71] 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 from Thrace to Macedonia demonstrates the degree to which Byzantine power in the north Balkans had declined.[72]

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.[73]

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

Further information: Byzantine Empire under the Isaurian dynasty

The Byzantine Food banks open on saturday in las vegas at the accession of Leo III, c. 717. Striped indicates areas raided by the Umayyads.

In 717 the Umayyad Caliphate launched the siege of Constantinople (717–718) which lasted for one year. However, the combination of Leo III the Isaurian's military genius, the Byzantines' use of Greek Fire, a cold winter in 717–718, and Byzantine diplomacy with the Khan Tervel of Bulgaria resulted in a Byzantine victory. After Leo III turned back the Muslim assault in 718, he addressed himself to the task of reorganising and consolidating the themes in Asia Minor. In 740 a major Byzantine victory took place at the Battle of Akroinon where the Byzantines destroyed the Umayyad army once again.

Leo III the Isaurian's son and successor, Constantine V, won noteworthy victories in northern Syria and also thoroughly undermined Bulgarian strength.[74] In 746, profiting by the unstable conditions in the Umayyad Caliphate, which was falling apart under Marwan II, Constantine V invaded Syria and captured Germanikeia, and the Battle of Keramaia resulted in a major Byzantine naval victory over the Umayyad fleet. Coupled with military defeats on other fronts of the Caliphate and internal instability, Umayyad expansion came to an end.

Religious dispute over iconoclasm[edit]

Main article: Byzantine iconoclasm

The 8th and early 9th centuries were also dominated by controversy and religious division over Iconoclasm, which was the main political issue in the 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 worshipped. Irene is said to have endeavoured to negotiate ulta beauty store nyc marriage between herself and Charlemagne, but, according to Theophanes the Confessor, the scheme was frustrated by Aetios, one of her favourites.[75]

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.[76] Iconoclasm played a part in the further alienation of East from West, which worsened during the so-called Photian schism, when Pope Nicholas I challenged the elevation of Photios to the patriarchate.[77]

Macedonian dynasty and resurgence (867–1025)[edit]

See also: Byzantine Empire under the Macedonian dynasty

The Byzantine Empire, c. 867

The accession of Basil I to the throne in 867 marks the beginning of the Macedonian dynasty, which ruled for 150 years. This dynasty included some of the ablest emperors in Byzantium's history, and the period is one of revival. The Empire moved from defending against external enemies to reconquest of territories.[78] The Macedonian dynasty was characterised by a cultural revival in spheres such as philosophy and the arts. There was a conscious effort to restore the brilliance of the period before the Slavic and subsequent Arab invasions, and the Macedonian era has been dubbed the "Golden Age" of Byzantium.[78] Although the Empire was significantly smaller than during the reign of Justinian, it had regained much strength, as the remaining territories were less geographically dispersed and more politically, economically, and culturally integrated.

Wars against the Abbasids[edit]

Main article: Arab–Byzantine wars

Taking advantage of the Empire's weakness how to call union bank customer service 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 at the Battle of Lalakaon against Umar al-Aqta, the emir of Melitene my account number straight talk. 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.[79]

In the 830s Abbasid Caliphate started military excursions culminating with a victory in the Sack of Amorium. The Byzantines then counter-attacked and sacked Damietta in Egypt. Later the Abbasid Caliphate responded by sending their troops into Anatolia again, sacking and marauding until they were eventually annihilated by the Byzantines at the Battle of Lalakaon in 863.

In the early years of Basil I's reign, Arab raids on the coasts of Dalmatia and the siege of Ragusa (866–868) were defeated and the region once again came under secure Byzantine control. This enabled Byzantine missionaries to penetrate to the interior and convert the Serbs and the principalities of modern-day Herzegovina and Montenegro to Christianity.[80]

By contrast, the Byzantine position in Southern Italy was gradually consolidated; by 873 Bari was once again under Byzantine rule and most of Southern Italy remained in the Empire for the next 200 years.[80][81] On the more important eastern front, the Empire rebuilt its defences and went on the offensive. The Paulicians were defeated at the Battle of Bathys Ryax and their capital of Tephrike (Divrigi) taken, while the offensive against the Abbasid Caliphate began with the recapture of Samosata.[80]

10th century military successes 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 enfeebled Abbasid Caliphate continued. Sicily was lost to the Arabs in 902, and, in 904 Thessaloniki, the Empire's second city was sacked by an Arab fleet. The naval weakness of the Empire was rectified. Despite this revenge, the Byzantines were still unable to strike a decisive blow against the Muslims, who inflicted a crushing defeat on the victoria secret pink lace up sweater forces when they attempted to regain Crete in 911.[82]

The death of the Bulgarian tsar Simeon I in 927 severely weakened the Bulgarians, allowing the Byzantines to concentrate on the eastern front.[83] Melitene was permanently recaptured in 934 and in 943 the famous general John Kourkouas continued the offensive in Mesopotamia with some noteworthy victories, culminating in the reconquest of Edessa. Kourkouas was especially celebrated for returning to Constantinople the venerated Mandylion, a relic purportedly imprinted with a portrait of Jesus.[84]

The soldier-emperors Nikephoros II Phokas (r. 963–969) and John I Tzimiskes (969–976) expanded the empire well into Syria, defeating the emirs of north-west Iraq. Nikephoros took the great city of Aleppo in 962, and the Arabs were decisively expelled from Crete in 963. The recapture of Crete in the siege of Chandax put an end to Arab raids in the Aegean, allowing mainland Greece to flourish again. Cyprus was permanently retaken in 965 and the successes of Nikephoros culminated in 969 with the siege of Antioch and its recapture, which he incorporated as a province of the Empire.[85] 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 Iraq and Egypt were left untouched.[86] After much campaigning in the north, the last Arab threat to Byzantium, the rich province of Sicily, was targeted in 1025 by Basil II, who died before the expedition could be completed. By that time the Empire stretched from the straits of Messina to the Euphrates and from the Danube to Syria.[87]

Wars against the Bulgarian Empire[edit]

Further information: Byzantine–Bulgarian wars

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.[78] Ending eighty years of peace between the two states, the powerful Bulgarian tsarSimeon 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.[88] The Byzantines were defeated at the Battle of Boulgarophygon in 896, however, and agreed to pay annual subsidies to the Bulgarians.[82]

Leo the Wise died in 912, and hostilities soon resumed as Simeon marched to Constantinople at the head of a large army.[89] Although the walls of the city were impregnable, the Byzantine administration was in disarray and Simeon was invited into the city, where he was granted the crown of basileus (emperor) of Bulgaria and had the young emperor Constantine VII marry one of his daughters. When a revolt in Constantinople halted his dynastic project, he again invaded Thrace and conquered Adrianople.[90] The Empire now faced the problem of a powerful Christian state within a few days' marching distance from Constantinople,[78] as well as having to fight on two fronts.[82]

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 ebay customer support telephone number usa to ravage northern Greece. Adrianople was plundered again in 923, and a Bulgarian army laid siege to Constantinople in 924. Simeon died suddenly in 927, however, and Bulgarian power collapsed with him. Bulgaria and Byzantium entered a long period of peaceful relations, and the Empire was now free to concentrate on the eastern front against the Muslims.[91] 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 East and west roman empire Bulgaria into the Byzantine Empire.[92]

Bulgarian resistance revived under the rule of the Cometopuli dynasty, but the new Emperor Basil II (r. 976–1025) made the submission of the Bulgarians his primary goal.[93] Basil's first expedition against Bulgaria, however, resulted in a defeat at the Gates of Trajan. For the next few years, the emperor was 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.[93] At the Battle of Kleidion in 1014 the Bulgarians were annihilated: their army was captured, and it is said that 99 out of every 100 men were blinded, with the hundredth man left with one eye so he could lead his compatriots home. When Tsar Samuil saw the broken remains of his once formidable army, he died of shock. By 1018, the last Bulgarian strongholds had surrendered, and the country became part of the Empire.[93] This victory restored the Danube frontier, which had not been held since the days of the Emperor Heraclius.[87]

Relations with the Kievan Rus'[edit]

Rus'under the walls of Constantinople (860)

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.[94] This relationship had long-lasting repercussions in the history of the East Slavs, and the Empire quickly 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 achieving political purposes.[95] Rus'–Byzantine relations became closer following the marriage of Anna Porphyrogeneta to Vladimir the Great in 988, and the subsequent Christianisation of the Rus'.[94] Byzantine priests, architects, and artists were invited to work on numerous cathedrals and churches around Rus', expanding Byzantine cultural influence even further, while numerous Rus' served in the Byzantine army as mercenaries, most notably as the famous Varangian Guard.[94]

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' indicated their ambitions to compete with the Byzantines as an independent power.[95]

Campaigns in the Caucasus[edit]

Main article: Byzantine–Georgian wars

Between 1021 and 1022, following years of tensions, Basil II led a series of victorious campaigns against the Kingdom of Georgia, east and west roman empire in the annexation of several Georgian provinces to the Empire. Basil's successors also annexed Bagratid Armenia in 1045. Importantly, both Georgia and Armenia were significantly weakened by the Byzantine administration's policy of heavy taxation and abolishing of the levy. The weakening of Georgia and Armenia played a significant role in the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071.[96]


Constantinoplewas the holiday destinations for 2020 and wealthiest city in Europe throughout late antiquity and most of the Middle Ages until the Fourth Crusadein 1204.

Basil II is considered among the most capable Byzantine emperors and his reign as the apex of the empire in the Middle Ages. By 1025, the date of Basil II's death, the Byzantine Empire stretched from Armenia in the east to Calabria in Southern Italy in the west.[87] 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.[80]

Leo VI achieved the complete codification of Byzantine law in Greek. This monumental work of 60 volumes became the foundation of all subsequent Byzantine law and is still studied today.[97] 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 centre of power, Constantinople.[98] However, the increasing military success of the Empire greatly enriched and gave the provincial nobility more power over the peasantry, who were essentially reduced to a state of serfdom.[99]

Under the Macedonian emperors, the city of Constantinople flourished, becoming the largest and wealthiest city in Europe, with a population of approximately 400,000 in the 9th and 10th centuries.[100] During this period, the Byzantine Empire employed a strong civil service staffed by competent aristocrats that oversaw the collection of taxes, domestic administration, and foreign policy. The Macedonian emperors also increased the Empire's wealth by fostering trade with Western Europe, particularly through the sale of silk and metalwork.[101]

Split between Orthodoxy and Catholicism (1054)[edit]

Further information: East–West Schism

The Macedonian period also included events of momentous religious significance. The conversion of the Bulgarians, Serbs and Rus' to Orthodox Christianity drew the religious map of Europe which still resonates today. Cyril and Methodius, two Byzantine Greek brothers from Thessaloniki, contributed significantly to the Christianization of the Slavs and in the process devised the Glagolitic alphabet, ancestor to the Cyrillic script.[102]

In 1054, relations between the Eastern and Western traditions of the Chalcedonian Christian Church reached a terminal crisis, known as the East–West Schism. Although there was a formal declaration of institutional separation, on 16 July, when three papal legates entered the Hagia Sophia during Divine Liturgy on a Saturday afternoon and placed a bull of excommunication on the altar,[103] the so-called Great Schism was actually the culmination of centuries of gradual separation.[104]

Crisis and fragmentation[edit]

The Byzantine Empire soon fell into a period of difficulties, caused to a large extent by the undermining of the theme system and the neglect of the military. Nikephoros II, John Tzimiskes, and Basil II shifted the emphasis of the military divisions (τάγματα, tagmata) from a reactive, defence-oriented citizen army into an army of professional career soldiers, increasingly dependent on manufactured homes for sale medford oregon mercenaries. Mercenaries were expensive, however, and as the threat of invasion receded in the 10th century, so did the need for maintaining large garrisons and expensive fortifications.[105] Basil II left a burgeoning treasury upon his death, but he neglected to plan for his succession. None of his immediate successors had any particular military or political talent and the imperial administration increasingly fell into the hands of the civil service. Incompetent efforts to revive the Byzantine economy resulted in severe inflation and a debased gold currency. The army was now seen as both an unnecessary expense and a political threat. A number of standing local units were demobilised, further augmenting the army's dependence on mercenaries, who could be retained and dismissed on an as-needed basis.[106]

At the same time, Byzantium was faced with new enemies. Its provinces in southern Italy were threatened by 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, the Normans began to advance, slowly but steadily, into Byzantine Italy.[107]Reggio, the capital of the tagma of Calabria, was captured in 1060 by Robert Guiscard, followed by Otranto in 1068. Bari, the main Byzantine stronghold in Apulia, was besieged in August 1068 and fell in April 1071.[108]

About 1053, Constantine IX disbanded what the historian John Skylitzes calls the "Iberian Army", which consisted of 50,000 men, and it was turned into a contemporary Drungary of the Watch. Two other knowledgeable contemporaries, the former officials Michael Attaleiates and Kekaumenos, agree with Skylitzes that by demobilising these soldiers Constantine did catastrophic harm to the Empire's eastern defences.

The emergency lent weight to the military aristocracy in Anatolia, who in 1068 secured the election of one of their own, Romanos 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 SultanAlp Arslan, and was captured. Alp Arslan treated him with respect and imposed no harsh terms on the Byzantines.[106] 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 from Armenia in the east to Bithynia in the west, and they had founded their capital at Nicaea, just 90 kilometres (56 miles) from Constantinople.[109]

Komnenian dynasty and the Crusades[edit]

See also: Byzantine Empire under the Komnenos dynasty and Komnenian restoration

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.[110] 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.[110]

The Empire under the Komnenoi played a key role in the history of the Crusades in the Holy Land, which Alexios I had helped bring about, while also exerting enormous cultural and political influence in Europe, the Near East, and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea under John and Manuel. Contact between Byzantium and the "Latin" West, including the Crusader states, increased significantly during the Komnenian period. Venetian and other Italian traders became resident in large numbers in Constantinople and the empire (there were an estimated 60,000 Latins in Constantinople alone, out of a population of three to four hundred thousand), and their presence together with the numerous Latin mercenaries who were employed by Manuel helped to spread Byzantine technology, art, literature and culture throughout the Latin West, while also leading to a flow of Western ideas and customs into the Empire.[111]

In terms of prosperity and cultural life, the Komnenian period was one of the peaks in Byzantine history,[112] and Constantinople remained the leading city of the Christian world in size, wealth, and culture.[113] There was a renewed interest in classical Greek philosophy, as well as an increase in literary output in vernacular Greek.[114] 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.[115]

Alexios I and the First Crusade[edit]

Further information: Alexios I Komnenos

See also: First Crusade

After Manzikert, a partial recovery (referred to as the Komnenian restoration) was made possible by the Komnenian dynasty.[116] The Komnenoi attained power again under Alexios I in 1081. From the outset of his reign, Alexios faced a formidable attack by the Normans under Robert Guiscard and his son Bohemund of Taranto, who captured Dyrrhachium and Corfu, and laid siege to Larissa in Thessaly. Robert Guiscard's death in 1085 temporarily eased the Norman problem. The following year, the Seljuq sultan died, and the sultanate was split by internal rivalries. By his own efforts, Alexios defeated the Pechenegs, who were caught by surprise and annihilated at the Battle of Levounion on 28 April 1091.[117]

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.[118] However, he still did not have enough manpower to recover the lost territories in Asia Minor and to advance against the Seljuks. At the Council of Piacenza in 1095, envoys from Alexios spoke to Pope Urban II about the suffering of the Christians of the East, and underscored that without help from the West they would continue to suffer under Muslim rule.[119]

Urban saw Alexios's request as a dual opportunity to cement Western Europe and reunite the Eastern Is cranberry juice good for you during pregnancy Church with the Roman Catholic Church under his rule.[119] On 27 November 1095, Pope Urban II called together the Council of Clermont, and urged all those present to take up arms under the sign of the Cross and launch an armed pilgrimage to recover Jerusalem and the East from the Muslims. The response in Western Europe was overwhelming.[117]

Alexios had anticipated help in the form of mercenary forces from the West, but he was totally unprepared for the immense and undisciplined force that soon arrived in Byzantine territory. It was no comfort to Alexios to learn that four of the eight leaders of the main body of the Crusade were Normans, among them Bohemund. Since the crusade had to pass through Constantinople, however, the Emperor had some control over it. He required its leaders to swear to restore to the empire any towns or territories they might reconquer from the Turks on their way to the Holy Land. In return, he gave them guides and a military escort.[120]

Alexios was able to recover a number of important cities, islands and much of western Asia Minor. The Crusaders agreed to become Alexios' vassals under the Treaty of Devol in 1108, which marked the end of the Norman threat during Alexios' reign.[121]

John II, Manuel I and the Second Crusade[edit]

Main articles: John II Komnenos and Manuel I Komnenos

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.[122] 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.[123] For this reason, he has been called the Byzantine Marcus Aurelius.

During his twenty-five-year reign, John made alliances with the Holy Roman Empire in the West and decisively defeated the Pechenegs at the Battle of Beroia.[124] He thwarted Hungarian and Serbian threats during the 1120s, and in 1130 he allied himself with the German emperorLothair III against the East and west roman empire king Roger East and west roman empire 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 recognise Byzantine suzerainty. In an effort to demonstrate the Emperor's role as the leader of the Christian world, John marched into the Holy Land at the head of the combined forces of the Empire and the Crusader states; yet despite his great vigour pressing the campaign, his hopes were disappointed can i open a bank account online in ghana the treachery of his Crusader allies.[126] In 1142, John returned to press his claims to Antioch, but he died in the spring of 1143 following a hunting accident.

John's chosen heir was his fourth son, Manuel I Komnenos, who campaigned aggressively against his neighbours both in the west and in the east. In Palestine, Manuel allied with the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and sent a large fleet to participate in a combined invasion of Fatimid Egypt. Manuel reinforced his position as overlord of the Crusader states, with his hegemony over Antioch and Jerusalem secured by agreement with Raynald, Prince of Antioch, and Amalric, King of Jerusalem.[127] In an effort to restore Byzantine control over the ports of southern Italy, he sent an expedition to Italy in 1155, but disputes within the coalition led to the eventual failure of the campaign. Despite this military setback, Manuel's armies successfully invaded the Southern parts of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1167, defeating the Hungarians at the Battle of Sirmium. By 1168, nearly the whole of dollar bank login pittsburgh eastern Adriatic coast lay in Manuel's hands.[128] Manuel made several alliances with the Pope and Western Christian kingdoms, and he successfully handled the passage of the Second Crusade through his empire.[129]

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".[130] The Byzantine commander John Vatatzes, who destroyed the Turkish invaders at the Battle of Hyelion and Leimocheir, not only brought troops from the capital but also was able to gather an army along the way, a sign that the Byzantine army remained strong and that the defensive program of western Asia Minor was still successful.[131]

12th-century Renaissance[edit]

Further information: Byzantine civilisation in the 12th century

See also: Komnenian Byzantine army

John and Manuel pursued active military policies, and both deployed considerable resources on sieges and city defences; aggressive fortification policies were at the heart of their imperial military policies.[132] Despite the defeat at Myriokephalon, the policies of Alexios, John and Manuel resulted in vast territorial gains, increased frontier stability in Asia Minor, and secured the stabilisation of the Empire's European frontiers. From c. 1081 to c. 1180, the Komnenian army assured the Empire's security, enabling Byzantine civilisation to flourish.[133]

This allowed the Western provinces to achieve an economic revival that continued until the close of the century. It has been argued that Byzantium under the Komnenian rule was more prosperous than at any time since the Persian invasions of the 7th century. During the 12th century, population levels rose and extensive tracts of new agricultural land were brought into production. Archaeological evidence from both Europe and Asia Minor shows a considerable increase in the size of urban settlements, together with a notable upsurge in new towns. Trade was also flourishing; the Venetians, the Genoese and others opened up the ports of the Aegean to commerce, shipping goods from the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer and Fatimid Egypt to the west and trading with the Empire via Constantinople.[134]

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.[135] 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.[136] In philosophy, there was a resurgence of classical learning not seen since the 7th century, characterised by a significant increase in the publication of commentaries on classical works.[114] Besides, the first transmission of classical Greek knowledge to the West occurred during the Komnenian period.[115]

Decline and disintegration[edit]

Main article: Decline of the Byzantine Empire

Angelid dynasty[edit]

Main article: Byzantine Empire under the Angelos dynasty

Manuel's death on 24 September 1180 left his 11-year-old son Alexios II Komnenos on the throne. Alexios was highly incompetent in the office, and with his mother Maria of Antioch's Frankish background, made his regency unpopular.[137] 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.[138] 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.[138] 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 for himself.[138]

Andronikos began his reign well; in particular, the measures he took to reform the government of the Empire have been praised by historians. According to George Ostrogorsky, Andronikos was determined to root out corruption: under his rule, the sale of offices ceased; selection was based on merit, rather than favouritism; officials were paid an adequate salary to reduce the temptation of bribery. In the provinces, Andronikos's reforms produced a speedy and marked improvement.[139] 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.[140] Andronikos seemed almost to seek the extermination of the aristocracy as a whole. The struggle against the aristocracy turned into wholesale slaughter, while the Emperor resorted to ever more ruthless measures to shore up his regime.[139]

Despite his military background, Andronikos failed to deal with Isaac Komnenos, 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 Byzantine Empire. 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.[141] 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.[142]

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 Vlachs and Bulgars began a rebellion that led to the formation of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The internal policy of the Angeloi was characterised by the squandering of the public treasure and fiscal maladministration. Imperial authority was severely weakened, and the growing power vacuum at the centre of the Empire encouraged fragmentation. There is evidence that some Komnenian heirs had set up a semi-independent state in Trebizond before 1204.[143] 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."[144]

Fourth Crusade[edit]

Main article: Fourth Crusade

In 1198, Pope Innocent III broached the subject of a new crusade through legates and encyclical letters.[145] The stated intent of the crusade was to conquer Egypt, now the centre of Muslim power in the Levant. The crusader army arrived at Venice in the summer of 1202 and hired the Venetian fleet to transport them to Egypt. As a payment to the Venetians, they captured the (Christian) port of Zara in Dalmatia (vassal city of Venice, which had rebelled and placed itself under Hungary's protection in 1186).[146] Shortly afterwards, Alexios Angelos, son of the deposed and blinded Emperor Isaac II Angelos, made contacts with the crusaders. Alexios offered to reunite the Byzantine church with Rome, pay the crusaders 200,000 silver marks, join the crusade, and provide all the supplies they needed to reach Egypt.[147]

Crusader sack of Constantinople (1204)[edit]

Further information: Siege of Constantinople (1203) and Siege of Constantinople (1204)

The crusaders arrived at Constantinople in the summer of 1203 and quickly attacked, starting a major fire that damaged large parts of the city, and briefly seized control. Alexios III fled from the capital and Alexios Angelos was elevated to the throne as Alexios IV along with his blind father Isaac. Alexios IV and Isaac II were unable to keep their promises and were deposed by Alexios V. The crusaders again took the city on 13 April 1204, and Constantinople was subjected to pillage and massacre by the rank and file for three days. Many priceless icons, relics and other objects later turned up in Western Europe, a large number in Venice. According to Choniates, a prostitute was even set up on the Patriarchal throne.[148] 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 Venetian Thomas Morosini was chosen as Patriarch. The lands divided up among the leaders included most of the former Byzantine possessions, though resistance continued through the Byzantine remnants of Nicaea, Trebizond, and Epirus

Источник: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Empire

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