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Animated map showing the territorial evolution of the Byzantine Empire (in yellow).
Animated map showing the territorial evolution of the Byzantine Empire (in yellow).

The Byzantine Empire, (Full article...)

Selected articles

  • Image 1The first Arab siege of Constantinople in 674–678 was a major conflict of the Arab–Byzantine wars, and the first culmination of the Umayyad Caliphate's expansionist strategy towards the Byzantine Empire, led by Caliph Mu'awiya I. Mu'awiya, who had emerged in 661 as the ruler of the Muslim Arab empire following a civil war, renewed aggressive warfare against Byzantium after a lapse of some years and hoped to deliver a lethal blow by capturing the Byzantine capital, Constantinople.As reported by the Byzantine chronicler Theophanes the Confessor, the Arab attack was methodical: in 672–673 Arab fleets secured bases along the coasts of Asia Minor, and then proceeded to install a loose blockade around Constantinople. They used the peninsula of Cyzicus near the city as a base to spend the winter, and returned every spring to launch attacks against the city's fortifications. Finally, the Byzantines, under Emperor Constantine IV, managed to destroy the Arab navy using a new invention, the liquid incendiary substance known as Greek fire. The Byzantines also defeated the Arab land army in Asia Minor, forcing them to lift the siege. The Byzantine victory was of major importance for the survival of the Byzantine state, as the Arab threat receded for a time. A peace treaty was signed soon after, and following the outbreak of another Muslim civil war, the Byzantines even experienced a period of ascendancy over the Caliphate. (Full article...)
    The first Arab siege of Constantinople in 674–678 was a major conflict of the Arab–Byzantine wars, and the first culmination of the Umayyad Caliphate's expansionist strategy towards the Byzantine Empire, led by Caliph Mu'awiya I. Mu'awiya, who had emerged in 661 as the ruler of the Muslim Arab empire following a civil war, renewed aggressive warfare against Byzantium after a lapse of some years and hoped to deliver a lethal blow by capturing the Byzantine capital, Constantinople.

    As reported by the Byzantine chronicler Theophanes the Confessor, the Arab attack was methodical: in 672–673 Arab fleets secured bases along the coasts of Asia Minor, and then proceeded to install a loose blockade around Constantinople. They used the peninsula of Cyzicus near the city as a base to spend the winter, and returned every spring to launch attacks against the city's fortifications. Finally, the Byzantines, under Emperor Constantine IV, managed to destroy the Arab navy using a new invention, the liquid incendiary substance known as Greek fire. The Byzantines also defeated the Arab land army in Asia Minor, forcing them to lift the siege. The Byzantine victory was of major importance for the survival of the Byzantine state, as the Arab threat receded for a time. A peace treaty was signed soon after, and following the outbreak of another Muslim civil war, the Byzantines even experienced a period of ascendancy over the Caliphate. (Full article...)
  • Image 2The Byzantine Empire was ruled by emperors of the Komnenos dynasty for a period of 104 years, from 1081 to about 1185. The Komnenian (also spelled Comnenian) period comprises the reigns of five emperors, Alexios I, John II, Manuel I, Alexios II and Andronikos I. It was a period of sustained, though ultimately incomplete, restoration of the military, territorial, economic and political position of the Byzantine Empire.Byzantium under the Komnenoi played a key role in the history of the Crusades in the Holy Land, while also exerting enormous cultural and political influence in Europe, the Near East, and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea. The Komnenian emperors, particularly John and Manuel, exerted great influence over the Crusader states of Outremer, whilst Alexios I played a key role in the course of the First Crusade, which he helped bring about. (Full article...)
    The Byzantine Empire was ruled by emperors of the Komnenos dynasty for a period of 104 years, from 1081 to about 1185. The Komnenian (also spelled Comnenian) period comprises the reigns of five emperors, Alexios I, John II, Manuel I, Alexios II and Andronikos I. It was a period of sustained, though ultimately incomplete, restoration of the military, territorial, economic and political position of the Byzantine Empire.

    Byzantium under the Komnenoi played a key role in the history of the Crusades in the Holy Land, while also exerting enormous cultural and political influence in Europe, the Near East, and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea. The Komnenian emperors, particularly John and Manuel, exerted great influence over the Crusader states of Outremer, whilst Alexios I played a key role in the course of the First Crusade, which he helped bring about. (Full article...)
  • Image 3The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or the Rite of Constantinople, identifies the wide range of cultural, liturgical, and canonical practices that developed in the Eastern Christian Church of Constantinople.The canonical hours are very long and complicated, lasting about eight hours (longer during Great Lent) but are abridged outside of large monasteries. An iconostasis, a partition covered with icons, separates the area around the altar from the nave. The sign of the cross, accompanied by bowing, is made very frequently, e.g., more than a hundred times during the divine liturgy, and there is prominent veneration of icons, a general acceptance of the congregants freely moving within the church and interacting with each other, and distinctive traditions of liturgical chanting. (Full article...)
    The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or the Rite of Constantinople, identifies the wide range of cultural, liturgical, and canonical practices that developed in the Eastern Christian Church of Constantinople.

    The canonical hours are very long and complicated, lasting about eight hours (longer during Great Lent) but are abridged outside of large monasteries. An iconostasis, a partition covered with icons, separates the area around the altar from the nave. The sign of the cross, accompanied by bowing, is made very frequently, e.g., more than a hundred times during the divine liturgy, and there is prominent veneration of icons, a general acceptance of the congregants freely moving within the church and interacting with each other, and distinctive traditions of liturgical chanting. (Full article...)
  • Image 4The Byzantine Empire was ruled by the Palaiologos dynasty in the period between 1261 and 1453, from the restoration of Byzantine rule to Constantinople by the usurper Michael VIII Palaiologos following its recapture from the Latin Empire, founded after the Fourth Crusade (1204), up to the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire. Together with the preceding Nicaean Empire and the contemporary Frankokratia, this period is known as the late Byzantine Empire.From the start, the regime faced numerous problems. The Turks of Asia Minor had begun conducting raids and expanding into Byzantine territory in Asia Minor by 1263, just two years after the enthronment of the first Palaiologos emperor Michael VIII. Anatolia, which had formed the very heart of the shrinking empire, was systematically lost to numerous Turkic ghazis, whose raids evolved into conquering expeditions inspired by Islamic zeal, the prospect of economic gain, and the desire to seek refuge from the Mongols after the disastrous Battle of Köse Dağ in 1243. The Palaiologoi were engaged on several fronts, often continually, while the empire's supply of food and manpower dwindled. In this period, the Byzantine Empire found itself continually at war, both civil and interstate, with most interstate conflicts being with other Christian empires. Most commonly, these comprised the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Serbian Empire, the remnants of the Latin Empire and even the Knights Hospitaller. (Full article...)
    The Byzantine Empire was ruled by the Palaiologos dynasty in the period between 1261 and 1453, from the restoration of Byzantine rule to Constantinople by the usurper Michael VIII Palaiologos following its recapture from the Latin Empire, founded after the Fourth Crusade (1204), up to the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire. Together with the preceding Nicaean Empire and the contemporary Frankokratia, this period is known as the late Byzantine Empire.

    From the start, the regime faced numerous problems. The Turks of Asia Minor had begun conducting raids and expanding into Byzantine territory in Asia Minor by 1263, just two years after the enthronment of the first Palaiologos emperor Michael VIII. Anatolia, which had formed the very heart of the shrinking empire, was systematically lost to numerous Turkic ghazis, whose raids evolved into conquering expeditions inspired by Islamic zeal, the prospect of economic gain, and the desire to seek refuge from the Mongols after the disastrous Battle of Köse Dağ in 1243. The Palaiologoi were engaged on several fronts, often continually, while the empire's supply of food and manpower dwindled. In this period, the Byzantine Empire found itself continually at war, both civil and interstate, with most interstate conflicts being with other Christian empires. Most commonly, these comprised the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Serbian Empire, the remnants of the Latin Empire and even the Knights Hospitaller. (Full article...)
  • Image 5The Empire of Trebizond, or Trapezuntine Empire, was a monarchy and one of three successor rump states of the Byzantine Empire that flourished during the 13th through to the 15th century, consisting of the far northeastern corner of Anatolia (the Pontus) and the southern Crimea. The empire was formed in 1204 with the help of the Georgian queen Tamar after the Georgian expedition in Chaldia and Paphlagonia, commanded by Alexios Komnenos a few weeks before the sack of Constantinople. Alexios later declared himself Emperor and established himself in Trebizond (modern day Trabzon, Turkey). Alexios and David Komnenos, grandsons and last male descendants of deposed Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos, pressed their claims as "Roman emperors" against Byzantine Emperor Alexios V Doukas. The later Byzantine emperors, as well as Byzantine authors, such as George Pachymeres, Nicephorus Gregoras and to some extent Trapezuntines such as John Lazaropoulos and Basilios Bessarion, regarded the emperors of Trebizond as the "princes of the Lazes", while the possession of these "princes" was also called Lazica. Thus from the point of view of the Byzantine writers connected with the Laskaris and later with the Palaiologos dynasties, the rulers of Trebizond were not emperors.After the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade overthrew Alexios V and established the Latin Empire, the Empire of Trebizond became one of three Byzantine successor states to claim the imperial throne, alongside the Empire of Nicaea under the Laskaris family and the Despotate of Epirus under a branch of the Angelos family. The ensuing wars saw the Empire of Thessalonica, the imperial government that sprung from Epirus, collapse following conflicts with Nicaea and Bulgaria and the final recapture of Constantinople by the Empire of Nicaea in 1261. Despite the Nicaean reconquest of Constantinople, the Emperors of Trebizond continued to style themselves as "Roman emperors" for two decades and continued to press their claim on the Imperial throne. Emperor John II of Trebizond officially gave up the Trapezuntine claim to the Roman imperial title and Constantinople itself 21 years after the Nicaeans recaptured the city, altering his imperial title from "Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans" to "Emperor and Autocrat of all the East, Iberia and Perateia". (Full article...)
    The Empire of Trebizond, or Trapezuntine Empire, was a monarchy and one of three successor rump states of the Byzantine Empire that flourished during the 13th through to the 15th century, consisting of the far northeastern corner of Anatolia (the Pontus) and the southern Crimea. The empire was formed in 1204 with the help of the Georgian queen Tamar after the Georgian expedition in Chaldia and Paphlagonia, commanded by Alexios Komnenos a few weeks before the sack of Constantinople. Alexios later declared himself Emperor and established himself in Trebizond (modern day Trabzon, Turkey). Alexios and David Komnenos, grandsons and last male descendants of deposed Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos, pressed their claims as "Roman emperors" against Byzantine Emperor Alexios V Doukas. The later Byzantine emperors, as well as Byzantine authors, such as George Pachymeres, Nicephorus Gregoras and to some extent Trapezuntines such as John Lazaropoulos and Basilios Bessarion, regarded the emperors of Trebizond as the "princes of the Lazes", while the possession of these "princes" was also called Lazica. Thus from the point of view of the Byzantine writers connected with the Laskaris and later with the Palaiologos dynasties, the rulers of Trebizond were not emperors.

    After the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade overthrew Alexios V and established the Latin Empire, the Empire of Trebizond became one of three Byzantine successor states to claim the imperial throne, alongside the Empire of Nicaea under the Laskaris family and the Despotate of Epirus under a branch of the Angelos family. The ensuing wars saw the Empire of Thessalonica, the imperial government that sprung from Epirus, collapse following conflicts with Nicaea and Bulgaria and the final recapture of Constantinople by the Empire of Nicaea in 1261. Despite the Nicaean reconquest of Constantinople, the Emperors of Trebizond continued to style themselves as "Roman emperors" for two decades and continued to press their claim on the Imperial throne. Emperor John II of Trebizond officially gave up the Trapezuntine claim to the Roman imperial title and Constantinople itself 21 years after the Nicaeans recaptured the city, altering his imperial title from "Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans" to "Emperor and Autocrat of all the East, Iberia and Perateia". (Full article...)
  • Image 6The Byzantine economy was among the most robust economies in the Mediterranean for many centuries. Constantinople was a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa. Some scholars argue that, up until the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century, the Eastern Roman Empire had the most powerful economy in the world. The Arab conquests, however, would represent a substantial reversal of fortunes contributing to a period of decline and stagnation. Constantine V's reforms (c. 765) marked the beginning of a revival that continued until 1204. From the 10th century until the end of the 12th, the Byzantine Empire projected an image of luxury, and the travelers were impressed by the wealth accumulated in the capital. All this changed with the arrival of the Fourth Crusade, which was an economic catastrophe. The Palaiologoi tried to revive the economy, but the late Byzantine state would not gain full control of either the foreign or domestic economic forces.One of the economic foundations of the empire was trade. The state strictly controlled both the internal and the international trade, and retained the monopoly of issuing coinage. Constantinople remained the single most important commercial centre of Europe for much of the Medieval era, which it held until the Republic of Venice slowly began to overtake Byzantine merchants in trade; first through tax exemption under the Komnenoi, then under the Latin Empire. (Full article...)
    The Byzantine economy was among the most robust economies in the Mediterranean for many centuries. Constantinople was a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa. Some scholars argue that, up until the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century, the Eastern Roman Empire had the most powerful economy in the world. The Arab conquests, however, would represent a substantial reversal of fortunes contributing to a period of decline and stagnation. Constantine V's reforms (c. 765) marked the beginning of a revival that continued until 1204. From the 10th century until the end of the 12th, the Byzantine Empire projected an image of luxury, and the travelers were impressed by the wealth accumulated in the capital. All this changed with the arrival of the Fourth Crusade, which was an economic catastrophe. The Palaiologoi tried to revive the economy, but the late Byzantine state would not gain full control of either the foreign or domestic economic forces.

    One of the economic foundations of the empire was trade. The state strictly controlled both the internal and the international trade, and retained the monopoly of issuing coinage. Constantinople remained the single most important commercial centre of Europe for much of the Medieval era, which it held until the Republic of Venice slowly began to overtake Byzantine merchants in trade; first through tax exemption under the Komnenoi, then under the Latin Empire. (Full article...)
  • Image 7The Despotate of the Morea (Greek: Δεσποτᾶτον τοῦ Μορέως) or Despotate of Mystras (Greek: Δεσποτᾶτον τοῦ Μυστρᾶ) was a province of the Byzantine Empire which existed between the mid-14th and mid-15th centuries. Its territory varied in size during its existence but eventually grew to include almost all the southern Greek peninsula now known as the Peloponnese, which was known as the Morea during the medieval and early modern periods. The territory was usually ruled by one or more sons of the current Byzantine emperor, who were given the title of despotes (in this context it should not be confused with despotism). Its capital was the fortified city of Mystras, near ancient Sparta, which became an important centre of the Palaiologan Renaissance. (Full article...)
    The Despotate of the Morea (Greek: Δεσποτᾶτον τοῦ Μορέως) or Despotate of Mystras (Greek: Δεσποτᾶτον τοῦ Μυστρᾶ) was a province of the Byzantine Empire which existed between the mid-14th and mid-15th centuries. Its territory varied in size during its existence but eventually grew to include almost all the southern Greek peninsula now known as the Peloponnese, which was known as the Morea during the medieval and early modern periods. The territory was usually ruled by one or more sons of the current Byzantine emperor, who were given the title of despotes (in this context it should not be confused with despotism). Its capital was the fortified city of Mystras, near ancient Sparta, which became an important centre of the Palaiologan Renaissance. (Full article...)
  • Image 8Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Eastern Roman Empire beginning c. 672. Used to set fire to enemy ships, it consisted of a combustible compound emitted by a flame-throwing weapon. Some historians believe it could be ignited on contact with water, and was probably based on naphtha and quicklime. The Byzantines typically used it in naval battles to great effect, as it could supposedly continue burning while floating on water. The technological advantage it provided was responsible for many key Byzantine military victories, most notably the salvation of Constantinople from the first and second Arab sieges, thus securing the Empire's survival.The impression made by Greek fire on the western European Crusaders was such that the name was applied to any sort of incendiary weapon, including those used by Arabs, the Chinese, and the Mongols. However, these mixtures used formulas different from that of Byzantine Greek fire, which was a closely guarded state secret. Byzantines also used pressurized nozzles to project the liquid onto the enemy, in a manner resembling a modern flamethrower. (Full article...)
    Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Eastern Roman Empire beginning c. 672. Used to set fire to enemy ships, it consisted of a combustible compound emitted by a flame-throwing weapon. Some historians believe it could be ignited on contact with water, and was probably based on naphtha and quicklime. The Byzantines typically used it in naval battles to great effect, as it could supposedly continue burning while floating on water. The technological advantage it provided was responsible for many key Byzantine military victories, most notably the salvation of Constantinople from the first and second Arab sieges, thus securing the Empire's survival.

    The impression made by Greek fire on the western European Crusaders was such that the name was applied to any sort of incendiary weapon, including those used by Arabs, the Chinese, and the Mongols. However, these mixtures used formulas different from that of Byzantine Greek fire, which was a closely guarded state secret. Byzantines also used pressurized nozzles to project the liquid onto the enemy, in a manner resembling a modern flamethrower. (Full article...)
  • Image 9Empire of Thessalonica is a historiographic term used by some modern scholars to refer to the short-lived Byzantine Greek state centred on the city of Thessalonica between 1224 and 1246 (sensu stricto until 1242) and ruled by the Komnenodoukas dynasty of Epirus. At the time of its establishment, the Empire of Thessalonica, under the capable Theodore Komnenos Doukas, rivaled the Empire of Nicaea and the Second Bulgarian Empire as the strongest state in the region, and aspired to capturing Constantinople, putting an end to the Latin Empire, and restoring the Byzantine Empire that had been extinguished in 1204.Thessalonica's ascendancy was brief, ending with the disastrous Battle of Klokotnitsa against Bulgaria in 1230, where Theodore Komnenos Doukas was captured. Reduced to a Bulgarian vassal, Theodore's brother and successor Manuel Komnenos Doukas was unable to prevent the loss of most of his brother's conquests in Macedonia and Thrace, while the original nucleus of the state, Epirus, broke free under Michael II Komnenos Doukas. Theodore recovered Thessalonica in 1237, installing his son John Komnenos Doukas, and after him Demetrios Angelos Doukas, as rulers of the city, while Manuel, with Nicaean support, seized Thessaly. The rulers of Thessalonica bore the imperial title from 1225/7 until 1242, when they were forced to renounce it and recognize the suzerainty of the rival Empire of Nicaea. The Komnenodoukai continued to rule as Despots of Thessalonica for four more years after that, but in 1246 the city was annexed by Nicaea. (Full article...)
    Empire of Thessalonica is a historiographic term used by some modern scholars to refer to the short-lived Byzantine Greek state centred on the city of Thessalonica between 1224 and 1246 (sensu stricto until 1242) and ruled by the Komnenodoukas dynasty of Epirus. At the time of its establishment, the Empire of Thessalonica, under the capable Theodore Komnenos Doukas, rivaled the Empire of Nicaea and the Second Bulgarian Empire as the strongest state in the region, and aspired to capturing Constantinople, putting an end to the Latin Empire, and restoring the Byzantine Empire that had been extinguished in 1204.

    Thessalonica's ascendancy was brief, ending with the disastrous Battle of Klokotnitsa against Bulgaria in 1230, where Theodore Komnenos Doukas was captured. Reduced to a Bulgarian vassal, Theodore's brother and successor Manuel Komnenos Doukas was unable to prevent the loss of most of his brother's conquests in Macedonia and Thrace, while the original nucleus of the state, Epirus, broke free under Michael II Komnenos Doukas. Theodore recovered Thessalonica in 1237, installing his son John Komnenos Doukas, and after him Demetrios Angelos Doukas, as rulers of the city, while Manuel, with Nicaean support, seized Thessaly. The rulers of Thessalonica bore the imperial title from 1225/7 until 1242, when they were forced to renounce it and recognize the suzerainty of the rival Empire of Nicaea. The Komnenodoukai continued to rule as Despots of Thessalonica for four more years after that, but in 1246 the city was annexed by Nicaea. (Full article...)
  • Image 10The Byzantine–Ottoman wars were a series of decisive conflicts between the Ottoman Turks and Byzantines that led to the final destruction of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Ottoman Empire. In 1204 the Byzantine capital of Constantinople was sacked and occupied by the Fourth Crusaders, an important moment of the Christian East–West Schism. The Byzantine Empire, already weakened by misrule, was left divided and in chaos.Taking advantage of the situation, the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum began seizing territory in Western Anatolia, until the Nicaean Empire was able to repulse the Seljuk Turks from the remaining territories still under Roman rule. Eventually Constantinople was re-taken from the Latin Empire in 1261 by the Nicaean Empire. The position of the Byzantine Empire in Europe remained uncertain due to the presence of the rival kingdoms of the Despotate of Epirus, Serbia and the Second Bulgarian Empire. This, combined with the reduced power of the Sultanate of Rum (Byzantium's chief rival in Asia) led to the removal of troops from Anatolia to maintain Byzantium's grip on Thrace. (Full article...)
    The Byzantine–Ottoman wars were a series of decisive conflicts between the Ottoman Turks and Byzantines that led to the final destruction of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Ottoman Empire. In 1204 the Byzantine capital of Constantinople was sacked and occupied by the Fourth Crusaders, an important moment of the Christian East–West Schism. The Byzantine Empire, already weakened by misrule, was left divided and in chaos.

    Taking advantage of the situation, the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum began seizing territory in Western Anatolia, until the Nicaean Empire was able to repulse the Seljuk Turks from the remaining territories still under Roman rule. Eventually Constantinople was re-taken from the Latin Empire in 1261 by the Nicaean Empire. The position of the Byzantine Empire in Europe remained uncertain due to the presence of the rival kingdoms of the Despotate of Epirus, Serbia and the Second Bulgarian Empire. This, combined with the reduced power of the Sultanate of Rum (Byzantium's chief rival in Asia) led to the removal of troops from Anatolia to maintain Byzantium's grip on Thrace. (Full article...)
  • Image 11The Great Palace of Constantinople (Greek: Μέγα Παλάτιον, Méga Palátion; Latin: Palatium Magnum, Turkish: Büyük Saray), also known as the Sacred Palace (Greek: Ἱερὸν Παλάτιον, Hieròn Palátion; Latin: Sacrum Palatium), was the large Imperial Byzantine palace complex located in the south-eastern end of the peninsula now known as Old Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), in modern Turkey. It served as the main Imperial residence of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine emperors until 1081 and was the centre of imperial administration for over 690 years. Only a few remnants and fragments of its foundations have survived into the present day. (Full article...)
    The Great Palace of Constantinople (Greek: Μέγα Παλάτιον, Méga Palátion; Latin: Palatium Magnum, Turkish: Büyük Saray), also known as the Sacred Palace (Greek: Ἱερὸν Παλάτιον, Hieròn Palátion; Latin: Sacrum Palatium), was the large Imperial Byzantine palace complex located in the south-eastern end of the peninsula now known as Old Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), in modern Turkey. It served as the main Imperial residence of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine emperors until 1081 and was the centre of imperial administration for over 690 years. Only a few remnants and fragments of its foundations have survived into the present day. (Full article...)
  • Image 12The Byzantine Empire underwent a revival during the reign of the Greek Macedonian emperors of the late 9th, 10th, and early 11th centuries, when it gained control over the Adriatic Sea, Southern Italy, and all of the territory of the Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria.The cities of the empire expanded, and affluence spread across the provinces because of the newfound security. The population rose, and production increased, stimulating new demand while also helping to encourage trade. (Full article...)
    The Byzantine Empire underwent a revival during the reign of the Greek Macedonian emperors of the late 9th, 10th, and early 11th centuries, when it gained control over the Adriatic Sea, Southern Italy, and all of the territory of the Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria.

    The cities of the empire expanded, and affluence spread across the provinces because of the newfound security. The population rose, and production increased, stimulating new demand while also helping to encourage trade. (Full article...)
  • Image 13The Battle of Dyrrhachium took place on October 18, 1081 between the Byzantine Empire, led by the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118), and the Normans of southern Italy under Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria. The battle was fought outside the city of Dyrrhachium (present-day Durrës in Albania), the major Byzantine stronghold in the western Balkans, and ended in a Norman victory.Following the Norman conquest of Byzantine Italy and Saracen Sicily, the Byzantine emperor, Michael VII Doukas (r. 1071–1078), betrothed his son to Robert Guiscard's daughter. When Michael was deposed, Robert took this as an excuse to invade the Byzantine Empire in 1081. His army laid siege to Dyrrhachium, but his fleet was defeated by the Venetians. On October 18, the Normans engaged a Byzantine army under Alexios I Komnenos outside Dyrrhachium. The battle began with the Byzantine right wing routing the Norman left wing, which broke and fled. Varangian mercenaries joined in the pursuit of the fleeing Normans, but became separated from the main force and were massacred. Norman knights in the centre attacked the Byzantine centre and routed it, causing the bulk of the Byzantine army to rout. (Full article...)
    The Battle of Dyrrhachium took place on October 18, 1081 between the Byzantine Empire, led by the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118), and the Normans of southern Italy under Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria. The battle was fought outside the city of Dyrrhachium (present-day Durrës in Albania), the major Byzantine stronghold in the western Balkans, and ended in a Norman victory.

    Following the Norman conquest of Byzantine Italy and Saracen Sicily, the Byzantine emperor, Michael VII Doukas (r. 1071–1078), betrothed his son to Robert Guiscard's daughter. When Michael was deposed, Robert took this as an excuse to invade the Byzantine Empire in 1081. His army laid siege to Dyrrhachium, but his fleet was defeated by the Venetians. On October 18, the Normans engaged a Byzantine army under Alexios I Komnenos outside Dyrrhachium. The battle began with the Byzantine right wing routing the Norman left wing, which broke and fled. Varangian mercenaries joined in the pursuit of the fleeing Normans, but became separated from the main force and were massacred. Norman knights in the centre attacked the Byzantine centre and routed it, causing the bulk of the Byzantine army to rout. (Full article...)
  • Image 14Byzantine medicine encompasses the common medical practices of the Byzantine Empire from about 400 AD to 1453 AD. Byzantine medicine was notable for building upon the knowledge base developed by its Greco-Roman predecessors. In preserving medical practices from antiquity, Byzantine medicine influenced Islamic medicine as well as fostering the Western rebirth of medicine during the Renaissance.Byzantine physicians often compiled and standardized medical knowledge into textbooks. Their records tended to include both diagnostic explanations and technical drawings. The Medical Compendium in Seven Books, written by the leading physician Paul of Aegina, survived as a particularly thorough source of medical knowledge. This compendium, written in the late seventh century, remained in use as a standard textbook for the following 800 years. This tradition of compilation continued from around the tenth century into the twentieth through the genre of medical writings known as iatrosophia. (Full article...)
    Byzantine medicine encompasses the common medical practices of the Byzantine Empire from about 400 AD to 1453 AD. Byzantine medicine was notable for building upon the knowledge base developed by its Greco-Roman predecessors. In preserving medical practices from antiquity, Byzantine medicine influenced Islamic medicine as well as fostering the Western rebirth of medicine during the Renaissance.

    Byzantine physicians often compiled and standardized medical knowledge into textbooks. Their records tended to include both diagnostic explanations and technical drawings. The Medical Compendium in Seven Books, written by the leading physician Paul of Aegina, survived as a particularly thorough source of medical knowledge. This compendium, written in the late seventh century, remained in use as a standard textbook for the following 800 years. This tradition of compilation continued from around the tenth century into the twentieth through the genre of medical writings known as iatrosophia. (Full article...)
  • Image 15The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottoman Empire. The city fell on 29 May 1453, the culmination of a 53-day siege which had begun on 6 April 1453.The attacking Ottoman Army, which significantly outnumbered Constantinople's defenders, was commanded by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II (later called "Mehmed the Conqueror"), while the Byzantine army was led by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. After conquering the city, Mehmed II made Constantinople the new Ottoman capital, replacing Adrianople. (Full article...)
    The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottoman Empire. The city fell on 29 May 1453, the culmination of a 53-day siege which had begun on 6 April 1453.

    The attacking Ottoman Army, which significantly outnumbered Constantinople's defenders, was commanded by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II (later called "Mehmed the Conqueror"), while the Byzantine army was led by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. After conquering the city, Mehmed II made Constantinople the new Ottoman capital, replacing Adrianople. (Full article...)
  • Image 16The East–West Schism (also known as the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) was the break of communion which occurred in the 11th century between the Western and Eastern churches. Immediately following the schism, it is estimated that Eastern Christianity comprised a slim majority of Christians worldwide, with the majority of remaining Christians being Western. The schism was the culmination of theological and political differences which had developed during the preceding centuries between Eastern and Western Christianity.A succession of ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes between the Greek East and Latin West preceded the formal split that occurred in 1054. Prominent among these were: the procession of the Holy Spirit (Filioque), whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist, the bishop of Rome's claim to universal jurisdiction, and the place of the See of Constantinople in relation to the pentarchy. (Full article...)
    The East–West Schism (also known as the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) was the break of communion which occurred in the 11th century between the Western and Eastern churches. Immediately following the schism, it is estimated that Eastern Christianity comprised a slim majority of Christians worldwide, with the majority of remaining Christians being Western. The schism was the culmination of theological and political differences which had developed during the preceding centuries between Eastern and Western Christianity.

    A succession of ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes between the Greek East and Latin West preceded the formal split that occurred in 1054. Prominent among these were: the procession of the Holy Spirit (Filioque), whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist, the bishop of Rome's claim to universal jurisdiction, and the place of the See of Constantinople in relation to the pentarchy. (Full article...)
  • Image 17The Empire of Nicaea or the Nicene Empire is the conventional historiographic name for the largest of the three Byzantine Greek rump states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade, an event known as the Sack of Constantinople. Like other Byzantine rump states that formed after the 1204 fracturing of the empire, such as the Empire of Trebizond and the Empire of Thessalonica, it was a continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire that survived well into the medieval period. A fourth state, known in historiography as the Latin Empire,  was established by the Crusaders and the Republic of Venice after the capture of Constantinople and the surrounding environs. It claimed to be the rightful continuation of the Roman Empire, despite having no meaningful connection to it.Founded by the Laskaris family, it lasted from 1204 to 1261, when the Nicenes restored the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople. (Full article...)
    The Empire of Nicaea or the Nicene Empire is the conventional historiographic name for the largest of the three Byzantine Greek rump states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade, an event known as the Sack of Constantinople. Like other Byzantine rump states that formed after the 1204 fracturing of the empire, such as the Empire of Trebizond and the Empire of Thessalonica, it was a continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire that survived well into the medieval period. A fourth state, known in historiography as the Latin Empire, was established by the Crusaders and the Republic of Venice after the capture of Constantinople and the surrounding environs. It claimed to be the rightful continuation of the Roman Empire, despite having no meaningful connection to it.

    Founded by the Laskaris family, it lasted from 1204 to 1261, when the Nicenes restored the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople. (Full article...)
  • Image 18The Nea Ekklēsia (Greek: Νέα Ἐκκλησία, "New Church"; known in English as "The Nea") was a church built by Byzantine Emperor Basil I the Macedonian in Constantinople between 876 and 880. It was the first monumental church built in the Byzantine capital after the Hagia Sophia in the 6th century, and marks the beginning of the middle period of Byzantine architecture. It continued in use until the Palaiologan period. Used as a gunpowder magazine by the Ottomans, the building was destroyed in 1490 after being struck by lightning. (Full article...)
    The Nea Ekklēsia (Greek: Νέα Ἐκκλησία, "New Church"; known in English as "The Nea") was a church built by Byzantine Emperor Basil I the Macedonian in Constantinople between 876 and 880. It was the first monumental church built in the Byzantine capital after the Hagia Sophia in the 6th century, and marks the beginning of the middle period of Byzantine architecture. It continued in use until the Palaiologan period. Used as a gunpowder magazine by the Ottomans, the building was destroyed in 1490 after being struck by lightning. (Full article...)
  • Image 19Byzantine currency, money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West, consisted of mainly two types of coins: the gold solidus and a variety of clearly valued bronze coins. By the end of the empire the currency was issued only in silver stavrata and minor copper coins with no gold issue.The East Roman or Byzantine Empire established and operated several mints throughout its history. Aside from the main metropolitan mint in the capital, Constantinople, a varying number of provincial mints were also established in other urban centres, especially during the 6th century. Most provincial mints except for Syracuse were closed or lost to invasions by the mid-7th century. After the loss of Syracuse in 878, Constantinople became the sole mint for gold and silver coinage until the late 11th century, when major provincial mints began to re-appear. Many mints, both imperial and, as the Byzantine world fragmented, belonging to autonomous local rulers, were operated in the 12th to 14th centuries. Constantinople and Trebizond, the seat of the independent Empire of Trebizond (1204–1461), survived until their conquest by the Ottoman Turks in the mid-15th century. (Full article...)
    Byzantine currency, money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West, consisted of mainly two types of coins: the gold solidus and a variety of clearly valued bronze coins. By the end of the empire the currency was issued only in silver stavrata and minor copper coins with no gold issue.

    The East Roman or Byzantine Empire established and operated several mints throughout its history. Aside from the main metropolitan mint in the capital, Constantinople, a varying number of provincial mints were also established in other urban centres, especially during the 6th century. Most provincial mints except for Syracuse were closed or lost to invasions by the mid-7th century. After the loss of Syracuse in 878, Constantinople became the sole mint for gold and silver coinage until the late 11th century, when major provincial mints began to re-appear. Many mints, both imperial and, as the Byzantine world fragmented, belonging to autonomous local rulers, were operated in the 12th to 14th centuries. Constantinople and Trebizond, the seat of the independent Empire of Trebizond (1204–1461), survived until their conquest by the Ottoman Turks in the mid-15th century. (Full article...)
  • Image 20A Hodegetria, or Virgin Hodegetria, is an iconographic depiction of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) holding the Child Jesus at her side while pointing to him as the source of salvation for humankind. The Virgin's head usually inclines towards the child, who raises his hand in a blessing gesture.  In the Western Church this type of icon is sometimes called Our Lady of the Way.The most venerated icon of the Hodegetria type, regarded as the original, was displayed in the Monastery of the Panaghia Hodegetria in Constantinople, which was built specially to contain it. Unlike most later copies it showed the Theotokos standing full-length. It was said to have been brought back from the Holy Land by Eudocia, the wife of emperor Theodosius II (408–450), and to have been painted by Saint Luke the apostle himself. The icon was double-sided, with a crucifixion on the other side, and was "perhaps the most prominent cult object in Byzantium". (Full article...)
    A Hodegetria, or Virgin Hodegetria, is an iconographic depiction of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) holding the Child Jesus at her side while pointing to him as the source of salvation for humankind. The Virgin's head usually inclines towards the child, who raises his hand in a blessing gesture. In the Western Church this type of icon is sometimes called Our Lady of the Way.

    The most venerated icon of the Hodegetria type, regarded as the original, was displayed in the Monastery of the Panaghia Hodegetria in Constantinople, which was built specially to contain it. Unlike most later copies it showed the Theotokos standing full-length. It was said to have been brought back from the Holy Land by Eudocia, the wife of emperor Theodosius II (408–450), and to have been painted by Saint Luke the apostle himself. The icon was double-sided, with a crucifixion on the other side, and was "perhaps the most prominent cult object in Byzantium". (Full article...)
  • Image 21Nea Moni (Greek: Νέα Μονή, lit. "New Monastery") is an 11th-century monastery on the island of Chios that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located on the Provateio Oros Mt. in the island's interior, about 15 km from Chios town. It is well known for its mosaics, which, together with those at Daphni and Hosios Loukas, are among the finest examples of "Macedonian Renaissance" art in Greece. (Full article...)
    Nea Moni (Greek: Νέα Μονή, lit. "New Monastery") is an 11th-century monastery on the island of Chios that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located on the Provateio Oros Mt. in the island's interior, about 15 km from Chios town. It is well known for its mosaics, which, together with those at Daphni and Hosios Loukas, are among the finest examples of "Macedonian Renaissance" art in Greece. (Full article...)
  • Image 22The Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347, sometimes referred to as the Second Palaiologan Civil War, was a conflict that broke out in the Byzantine Empire after the death of Andronikos III Palaiologos over the guardianship of his nine-year-old son and heir, John V Palaiologos. It pitted on the one hand Andronikos III's chief minister, John VI Kantakouzenos, and on the other a regency headed by the Empress-Dowager Anna of Savoy, the Patriarch of Constantinople John XIV Kalekas, and the megas doux Alexios Apokaukos. The war polarized Byzantine society along class lines, with the aristocracy backing Kantakouzenos and the lower and middle classes supporting the regency. To a lesser extent, the conflict acquired religious overtones; Byzantium was embroiled in the Hesychast controversy, and adherence to the mystical doctrine of Hesychasm was often equated with support for Kantakouzenos.As the chief aide and closest friend of Emperor Andronikos III, Kantakouzenos became regent for the underage John V upon Andronikos's death in June 1341. While Kantakouzenos was absent from Constantinople in September the same year, a coup d'état led by Alexios Apokaukos and the Patriarch John XIV secured the support of Empress Anna and established a new regency. In response, Kantakouzenos' army and supporters proclaimed him co-emperor in October, cementing the rift between himself and the new regency. The split immediately escalated into armed conflict. (Full article...)
    The Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347, sometimes referred to as the Second Palaiologan Civil War, was a conflict that broke out in the Byzantine Empire after the death of Andronikos III Palaiologos over the guardianship of his nine-year-old son and heir, John V Palaiologos. It pitted on the one hand Andronikos III's chief minister, John VI Kantakouzenos, and on the other a regency headed by the Empress-Dowager Anna of Savoy, the Patriarch of Constantinople John XIV Kalekas, and the megas doux Alexios Apokaukos. The war polarized Byzantine society along class lines, with the aristocracy backing Kantakouzenos and the lower and middle classes supporting the regency. To a lesser extent, the conflict acquired religious overtones; Byzantium was embroiled in the Hesychast controversy, and adherence to the mystical doctrine of Hesychasm was often equated with support for Kantakouzenos.

    As the chief aide and closest friend of Emperor Andronikos III, Kantakouzenos became regent for the underage John V upon Andronikos's death in June 1341. While Kantakouzenos was absent from Constantinople in September the same year, a coup d'état led by Alexios Apokaukos and the Patriarch John XIV secured the support of Empress Anna and established a new regency. In response, Kantakouzenos' army and supporters proclaimed him co-emperor in October, cementing the rift between himself and the new regency. The split immediately escalated into armed conflict. (Full article...)
  • Image 23The Arab–Byzantine wars were a series of wars between a number of Muslim Arab dynasties and the Byzantine Empire between the 7th and 12th centuries AD. Conflict started during the initial Muslim conquests, under the expansionist Rashidun and Umayyad caliphs, in the 7th century and continued by their successors until the mid-12th century.The emergence of Muslim Arabs from Arabia in the 630s resulted in the rapid loss of Byzantium's southern provinces (Syria and Egypt) to the Arab Caliphate. Over the next fifty years, under the Umayyad caliphs, the Arabs would launch repeated raids into still-Byzantine Asia Minor, twice besiege the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, and conquer the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. The situation did not stabilize until after the failure of the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople in 718, when the Taurus Mountains on the eastern rim of Asia Minor became established as the mutual, heavily fortified and largely depopulated frontier. Under the Abbasid Empire, relations became more normal, with embassies exchanged and even periods of truce, but conflict remained the norm, with almost annual raids and counter-raids, sponsored either by the Abbasid government or by local rulers, well into the 10th century. (Full article...)
    The Arab–Byzantine wars were a series of wars between a number of Muslim Arab dynasties and the Byzantine Empire between the 7th and 12th centuries AD. Conflict started during the initial Muslim conquests, under the expansionist Rashidun and Umayyad caliphs, in the 7th century and continued by their successors until the mid-12th century.

    The emergence of Muslim Arabs from Arabia in the 630s resulted in the rapid loss of Byzantium's southern provinces (Syria and Egypt) to the Arab Caliphate. Over the next fifty years, under the Umayyad caliphs, the Arabs would launch repeated raids into still-Byzantine Asia Minor, twice besiege the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, and conquer the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. The situation did not stabilize until after the failure of the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople in 718, when the Taurus Mountains on the eastern rim of Asia Minor became established as the mutual, heavily fortified and largely depopulated frontier. Under the Abbasid Empire, relations became more normal, with embassies exchanged and even periods of truce, but conflict remained the norm, with almost annual raids and counter-raids, sponsored either by the Abbasid government or by local rulers, well into the 10th century. (Full article...)
  • Image 24The Sack of Amorium by the Abbasid Caliphate in mid-August 838 was one of the major events in the long history of the Arab–Byzantine Wars. The Abbasid campaign was led personally by the Caliph al-Mu'tasim (r. 833–842), in retaliation to a virtually unopposed expedition launched by the Byzantine emperor Theophilos (r. 829–842) into the Caliphate's borderlands the previous year. Mu'tasim targeted Amorium, a Byzantine city in western Asia Minor, because it was the birthplace of the ruling Byzantine dynasty and, at the time, one of Byzantium's largest and most important cities. The caliph gathered an exceptionally large army, which he divided in two parts, which invaded from the northeast and the south. The northeastern army defeated the Byzantine forces under Theophilos at Anzen, allowing the Abbasids to penetrate deep into Byzantine Asia Minor and converge upon Ancyra, which they found abandoned. After sacking the city, they turned south to Amorium, where they arrived on 1 August. Faced with intrigues at Constantinople and the rebellion of the large Khurramite contingent of his army, Theophilos was unable to aid the city.Amorium was strongly fortified and garrisoned, but a traitor revealed a weak spot in the wall, where the Abbasids concentrated their attack, effecting a breach. Unable to break through the besieging army, Boiditzes, the commander of the breached section privately attempted to negotiate with the Caliph without notifying his superiors. He concluded a local truce and left his post, which allowed the Arabs to take advantage, enter the city, and capture it. Amorium was systematically destroyed, never to recover its former prosperity. Many of its inhabitants were slaughtered, and the remainder driven off as slaves. Most of the survivors were released after a truce in 841, but prominent officials were taken to the caliph's capital of Samarra and executed years later after refusing to convert to Islam, becoming known as the 42 Martyrs of Amorium. (Full article...)
    The Sack of Amorium by the Abbasid Caliphate in mid-August 838 was one of the major events in the long history of the Arab–Byzantine Wars. The Abbasid campaign was led personally by the Caliph al-Mu'tasim (r. 833–842), in retaliation to a virtually unopposed expedition launched by the Byzantine emperor Theophilos (r. 829–842) into the Caliphate's borderlands the previous year. Mu'tasim targeted Amorium, a Byzantine city in western Asia Minor, because it was the birthplace of the ruling Byzantine dynasty and, at the time, one of Byzantium's largest and most important cities. The caliph gathered an exceptionally large army, which he divided in two parts, which invaded from the northeast and the south. The northeastern army defeated the Byzantine forces under Theophilos at Anzen, allowing the Abbasids to penetrate deep into Byzantine Asia Minor and converge upon Ancyra, which they found abandoned. After sacking the city, they turned south to Amorium, where they arrived on 1 August. Faced with intrigues at Constantinople and the rebellion of the large Khurramite contingent of his army, Theophilos was unable to aid the city.

    Amorium was strongly fortified and garrisoned, but a traitor revealed a weak spot in the wall, where the Abbasids concentrated their attack, effecting a breach. Unable to break through the besieging army, Boiditzes, the commander of the breached section privately attempted to negotiate with the Caliph without notifying his superiors. He concluded a local truce and left his post, which allowed the Arabs to take advantage, enter the city, and capture it. Amorium was systematically destroyed, never to recover its former prosperity. Many of its inhabitants were slaughtered, and the remainder driven off as slaves. Most of the survivors were released after a truce in 841, but prominent officials were taken to the caliph's capital of Samarra and executed years later after refusing to convert to Islam, becoming known as the 42 Martyrs of Amorium. (Full article...)
  • Image 25Hesychasm (/ˈhɛsɪkæzəm, ˈhɛzɪ-/; Greek: Ησυχασμός) is a mystical tradition of contemplative prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Based on Jesus's injunction in the Gospel of Matthew that "whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you", hesychasm is the process of retiring inward by ceasing to register the senses, in order to achieve an experiential knowledge of God (see Theoria). (Full article...)
    Hesychasm (/ˈhɛsɪkæzəm, ˈhɛzɪ-/; Greek: Ησυχασμός) is a mystical tradition of contemplative prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Based on Jesus's injunction in the Gospel of Matthew that "whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you", hesychasm is the process of retiring inward by ceasing to register the senses, in order to achieve an experiential knowledge of God (see Theoria). (Full article...)

Selected biographies

  • Replicated depiction of Basil II from the Menologion of Basil II
    Replicated depiction of Basil II from the Menologion of Basil II
  • Image 2Basil Lekapenos (Greek: Βασίλειος Λεκαπηνός, romanized: Basíleios Lekapēnós; c. 925 – c. 985), also called the Parakoimomenos (ό παρακοιμώμενος) or the Nothos (ό Νόθος, "the Bastard"), was an illegitimate child of the Byzantine emperor Romanos I Lekapenos. He served as  the parakoimomenos and chief minister of the Byzantine Empire for most of the period 947 to 985, under emperors Constantine VII (his brother-in-law), Nikephoros II Phokas, John I Tzimiskes, and Basil II (his great nephew). (Full article...)
    Basil Lekapenos (Greek: Βασίλειος Λεκαπηνός, romanizedBasíleios Lekapēnós; c. 925c. 985), also called the Parakoimomenos (ό παρακοιμώμενος) or the Nothos (ό Νόθος, "the Bastard"), was an illegitimate child of the Byzantine emperor Romanos I Lekapenos. He served as the parakoimomenos and chief minister of the Byzantine Empire for most of the period 947 to 985, under emperors Constantine VII (his brother-in-law), Nikephoros II Phokas, John I Tzimiskes, and Basil II (his great nephew). (Full article...)
  • Image 4Nikephoros Phokas (Greek: Νικηφόρος Φωκᾶς, romanized: Nikēphoros Phōkas; died 895/6 or c. 900), usually surnamed the Elder to distinguish him from his grandson, Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas, was one of the most prominent Byzantine generals of the late 9th century, and the first important member of the Phokas family. As a youth he was taken into the personal retinue of Emperor Basil I the Macedonian, rising quickly to the posts of protostrator and then governor of Charsianon, whence he fought with success against the Arabs. In c. 886 he led a major expedition in southern Italy, where his victories laid the foundation for the Byzantine resurgence in the peninsula. After his return, he was raised to the post of Domestic of the Schools, in effect commander-in-chief of the army, which he led with success against the Arabs in the east and the Bulgarians of Tsar Simeon in the Balkans. He died either in 895/6 or, less likely, sometime c. 900. Contemporaries and later historians lauded him for his military ability and character. Both of his sons later succeeded him as Domestics of the Schools. His grandsons Nikephoros and Leo were likewise distinguished generals, while the former became emperor in 963–969, spearheading the recovery of several lost provinces from the Arabs. (Full article...)
    Nikephoros Phokas (Greek: Νικηφόρος Φωκᾶς, romanizedNikēphoros Phōkas; died 895/6 or c. 900), usually surnamed the Elder to distinguish him from his grandson, Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas, was one of the most prominent Byzantine generals of the late 9th century, and the first important member of the Phokas family. As a youth he was taken into the personal retinue of Emperor Basil I the Macedonian, rising quickly to the posts of protostrator and then governor of Charsianon, whence he fought with success against the Arabs. In c. 886 he led a major expedition in southern Italy, where his victories laid the foundation for the Byzantine resurgence in the peninsula. After his return, he was raised to the post of Domestic of the Schools, in effect commander-in-chief of the army, which he led with success against the Arabs in the east and the Bulgarians of Tsar Simeon in the Balkans. He died either in 895/6 or, less likely, sometime c. 900. Contemporaries and later historians lauded him for his military ability and character. Both of his sons later succeeded him as Domestics of the Schools. His grandsons Nikephoros and Leo were likewise distinguished generals, while the former became emperor in 963–969, spearheading the recovery of several lost provinces from the Arabs. (Full article...)
  • Icon of St. Maximus
    Icon of St. Maximus
  • Icon of St. Kassia
    Icon of St. Kassia
  • Image 7Peter the Patrician (Latin: Petrus Patricius, Greek: Πέτρος ὁ Πατρίκιος, Petros ho Patrikios; c. 500–565) was a senior Byzantine official, diplomat, and historian. A well-educated and successful lawyer, he was repeatedly sent as envoy to Ostrogothic Italy in the prelude to the Gothic War of 535–554. Despite his diplomatic skill, he was not able to avert war, and was imprisoned by the Goths in Ravenna for a few years. Upon his release, he was appointed to the post of magister officiorum, head of the imperial secretariat, which he held for an unparalleled 26 years. In this capacity, he was one of the leading ministers of Emperor Justinian I (r. 527–565), playing an important role in the Byzantine emperor's religious policies and the relations with Sassanid Persia; most notably he led the negotiations for the peace agreement of 562 that ended the 20-year-long Lazic War. His historical writings survive only in fragments, but provide unique source material on early Byzantine ceremonies and diplomatic issues between Byzantium and the Sassanids. (Full article...)
    Peter the Patrician (Latin: Petrus Patricius, Greek: Πέτρος ὁ Πατρίκιος, Petros ho Patrikios; c. 500–565) was a senior Byzantine official, diplomat, and historian. A well-educated and successful lawyer, he was repeatedly sent as envoy to Ostrogothic Italy in the prelude to the Gothic War of 535–554. Despite his diplomatic skill, he was not able to avert war, and was imprisoned by the Goths in Ravenna for a few years. Upon his release, he was appointed to the post of magister officiorum, head of the imperial secretariat, which he held for an unparalleled 26 years. In this capacity, he was one of the leading ministers of Emperor Justinian I (r. 527–565), playing an important role in the Byzantine emperor's religious policies and the relations with Sassanid Persia; most notably he led the negotiations for the peace agreement of 562 that ended the 20-year-long Lazic War. His historical writings survive only in fragments, but provide unique source material on early Byzantine ceremonies and diplomatic issues between Byzantium and the Sassanids. (Full article...)
  • Gold tetarteron of Isaac I Komnenos, showing the Emperor wielding a globus cruciger and holding a sheathed sword
    Gold tetarteron of Isaac I Komnenos, showing the Emperor wielding a globus cruciger and holding a sheathed sword
  • Image 9Bardanes, nicknamed Tourkos, "the Turk" (Greek: Βαρδάνης ὁ Τοῦρκος, romanized: Bardanēs ho Tourkos, fl. 795–803), was a Byzantine general of Armenian origin who launched an unsuccessful rebellion against Emperor Nikephoros I (r. 802–811) in 803. Although a major supporter of Byzantine empress Irene of Athens (r. 797–802), soon after her overthrow he was appointed by Nikephoros as commander-in-chief of the Anatolian armies. From this position, he launched a revolt in July 803, probably in opposition to Nikephoros's economic and religious policies. His troops marched towards Constantinople, but failed to win popular support. At this point, some of his major supporters deserted him and, reluctant to engage the loyalist forces in battle, Bardanes gave up and chose to surrender himself. He retired as a monk to a monastery he had founded. There he was blinded, possibly on Nikephoros's orders. (Full article...)
    Bardanes, nicknamed Tourkos, "the Turk" (Greek: Βαρδάνης ὁ Τοῦρκος, romanizedBardanēs ho Tourkos, fl. 795–803), was a Byzantine general of Armenian origin who launched an unsuccessful rebellion against Emperor Nikephoros I (r. 802–811) in 803. Although a major supporter of Byzantine empress Irene of Athens (r. 797–802), soon after her overthrow he was appointed by Nikephoros as commander-in-chief of the Anatolian armies. From this position, he launched a revolt in July 803, probably in opposition to Nikephoros's economic and religious policies. His troops marched towards Constantinople, but failed to win popular support. At this point, some of his major supporters deserted him and, reluctant to engage the loyalist forces in battle, Bardanes gave up and chose to surrender himself. He retired as a monk to a monastery he had founded. There he was blinded, possibly on Nikephoros's orders. (Full article...)
  • Image 10David Megas Komnenos (Greek: Δαυίδ Μέγας Κομνηνός, romanized: David Megas Komnēnos; c. 1408 – 1 November 1463) was the last Emperor of Trebizond from 1460 to 1461. He was the third son of Emperor Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene. Following the fall of Trebizond to the Ottoman Empire, he was taken captive with his family to the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, where he and his sons and nephew were executed in 1463.In July 2013, David and his sons and nephew were canonized by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Their feast day was determined as 1 November, the anniversary of their deaths. (Full article...)
    David Megas Komnenos (Greek: Δαυίδ Μέγας Κομνηνός, romanizedDavid Megas Komnēnos; c. 1408 – 1 November 1463) was the last Emperor of Trebizond from 1460 to 1461. He was the third son of Emperor Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene. Following the fall of Trebizond to the Ottoman Empire, he was taken captive with his family to the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, where he and his sons and nephew were executed in 1463.

    In July 2013, David and his sons and nephew were canonized by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Their feast day was determined as 1 November, the anniversary of their deaths. (Full article...)
  • Image 11Alexios I Megas Komnenos (Greek: Αλέξιος Κομνηνός; c. 1182 – 1 February 1222) or Alexius I Megas Comnenus was, with his brother David, the founder of the Empire of Trebizond and its ruler from 1204 until his death in 1222. The two brothers were the only male descendants of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I, who had been dethroned and killed in 1185, and thus claimed to represent the legitimate government of the Empire following the conquest of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204. Although his rivals governing the Nicaean Empire succeeded in becoming the de facto successors, and rendered his dynastic claims to the imperial throne moot, Alexios' descendants continued to emphasize both their heritage and connection to the Komnenian dynasty by later referring to themselves as Megas Komnenos ("grand Komnenos").While his brother David conquered a number of Byzantine provinces in northwestern Anatolia, Alexios defended his capital Trebizond from an unsuccessful siege by the Seljuk Turks around the year 1205. Further details of his reign are sparse. Muslim chroniclers record how, in 1214, Alexios was captured by the Turks in the field while defending Sinope; despite sending an envoy to seek their surrender the city refused to capitulate to Sultan Kaykaus I, and Alexios was tortured in sight of the Sinopians. The city submitted to Kaykaus and Alexios was freed after becoming Kaykaus' vassal. Alexios died at the age of forty. (Full article...)
    Alexios I Megas Komnenos (Greek: Αλέξιος Κομνηνός; c. 1182 – 1 February 1222) or Alexius I Megas Comnenus was, with his brother David, the founder of the Empire of Trebizond and its ruler from 1204 until his death in 1222. The two brothers were the only male descendants of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I, who had been dethroned and killed in 1185, and thus claimed to represent the legitimate government of the Empire following the conquest of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204. Although his rivals governing the Nicaean Empire succeeded in becoming the de facto successors, and rendered his dynastic claims to the imperial throne moot, Alexios' descendants continued to emphasize both their heritage and connection to the Komnenian dynasty by later referring to themselves as Megas Komnenos ("grand Komnenos").

    While his brother David conquered a number of Byzantine provinces in northwestern Anatolia, Alexios defended his capital Trebizond from an unsuccessful siege by the Seljuk Turks around the year 1205. Further details of his reign are sparse. Muslim chroniclers record how, in 1214, Alexios was captured by the Turks in the field while defending Sinope; despite sending an envoy to seek their surrender the city refused to capitulate to Sultan Kaykaus I, and Alexios was tortured in sight of the Sinopians. The city submitted to Kaykaus and Alexios was freed after becoming Kaykaus' vassal. Alexios died at the age of forty. (Full article...)
  • Image 12John I Doukas (Greek: Ἰωάννης Δούκας, romanized: Iōánnēs Doúkas), Latinized as Ducas, was an illegitimate son of Michael II Komnenos Doukas, Despot of Epirus in c. 1230–1268. After his father's death, he became ruler of Thessaly from c. 1268 to his own death in 1289. From his father's family he is also inaccurately known as John Angelos.Married to a Thessalian Vlach woman, John first appears leading Vlach troops alongside his father in the lead-up to the Battle of Pelagonia in 1259. His defection to the camp of Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos was crucial in the battle, which ended with the crushing defeat of the Epirotes' Latin allies and opened the way for the recovery of Constantinople and the re-establishment of the Byzantine Empire under Palaiologos in 1261. John quickly returned to the side of his father and brother, Nikephoros, and assisted them in recovering Epirus and Thessaly. After Michael II died, John Doukas became ruler of Thessaly with his seat at Neopatras, whence Western chroniclers often erroneously called him "Duke of Neopatras". (Full article...)
    John I Doukas (Greek: Ἰωάννης Δούκας, romanizedIōánnēs Doúkas), Latinized as Ducas, was an illegitimate son of Michael II Komnenos Doukas, Despot of Epirus in c. 1230–1268. After his father's death, he became ruler of Thessaly from c. 1268 to his own death in 1289. From his father's family he is also inaccurately known as John Angelos.

    Married to a Thessalian Vlach woman, John first appears leading Vlach troops alongside his father in the lead-up to the Battle of Pelagonia in 1259. His defection to the camp of Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos was crucial in the battle, which ended with the crushing defeat of the Epirotes' Latin allies and opened the way for the recovery of Constantinople and the re-establishment of the Byzantine Empire under Palaiologos in 1261. John quickly returned to the side of his father and brother, Nikephoros, and assisted them in recovering Epirus and Thessaly. After Michael II died, John Doukas became ruler of Thessaly with his seat at Neopatras, whence Western chroniclers often erroneously called him "Duke of Neopatras". (Full article...)
  • Manuscript miniature of Manuel I (part of double portrait with Maria of Antioch, Vatican Library, Rome)
    Manuscript miniature of Manuel I (part of double portrait with Maria of Antioch, Vatican Library, Rome)
  • Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas
    Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas
  • Coin depicting John II Megas Komnenos
    Coin depicting John II Megas Komnenos
  • Electrum coin with Theodore (left) blessed by Thessalonica's patron, St. Demetrius
    Electrum coin with Theodore (left) blessed by Thessalonica's patron, St. Demetrius
  • Image 17Anna Komnene (Greek: Ἄννα Κομνηνή, romanized: Ánna Komnēnḗ; 1 December 1083 – 1153), commonly Latinized as Anna Comnena, was a Byzantine princess and author of the Alexiad, an account of the reign of her father, the Byzantine emperor, Alexios I Komnenos. The Alexiad is the most important primary source of Byzantine history of the late 11th and early 12th centuries. Although she is best known as the author of the Alexiad, Anna played an important part in the politics of the time and attempted to depose her brother, John II Komnenos, as emperor and seize the throne herself.At birth, Anna was betrothed to Constantine Doukas, and she grew up in his mother's household. She was well-educated in "Greek literature and history, philosophy, theology, mathematics, and medicine." Anna and Constantine were next in the line to throne until Anna's younger brother, John II Komnenos, became the heir in 1092. Constantine died around 1094, and Anna married  Nikephoros Bryennios in 1097. The two had several children before Nikephoros' death around 1136. (Full article...)
    Anna Komnene (Greek: Ἄννα Κομνηνή, romanizedÁnna Komnēnḗ; 1 December 1083 – 1153), commonly Latinized as Anna Comnena, was a Byzantine princess and author of the Alexiad, an account of the reign of her father, the Byzantine emperor, Alexios I Komnenos. The Alexiad is the most important primary source of Byzantine history of the late 11th and early 12th centuries. Although she is best known as the author of the Alexiad, Anna played an important part in the politics of the time and attempted to depose her brother, John II Komnenos, as emperor and seize the throne herself.

    At birth, Anna was betrothed to Constantine Doukas, and she grew up in his mother's household. She was well-educated in "Greek literature and history, philosophy, theology, mathematics, and medicine." Anna and Constantine were next in the line to throne until Anna's younger brother, John II Komnenos, became the heir in 1092. Constantine died around 1094, and Anna married Nikephoros Bryennios in 1097. The two had several children before Nikephoros' death around 1136. (Full article...)
  • Constantine V – gold solidus
    Constantine V – gold solidus
  • Trachy of Michael II
    Trachy of Michael II
  • 15th-century portrait of Constantine XI (from a 15th-century codex containing a copy of the Extracts of History by Joannes Zonaras)
    15th-century portrait of Constantine XI (from a 15th-century codex containing a copy of the Extracts of History by Joannes Zonaras)
  • Alexios III with his wife Theodora, from the chrysobull he granted to the Dionysiou monastery.
    Alexios III with his wife Theodora, from the chrysobull he granted to the Dionysiou monastery.
  • Solidus of Emperor Heraclius (aged 35–38). Constantinople mint. Struck 610–613. Helmeted and cuirassed facing bust, holding a cross.
    Solidus of Emperor Heraclius (aged 35–38). Constantinople mint. Struck 610–613. Helmeted and cuirassed facing bust, holding a cross.
  • Image 24Procopius of Caesarea (Greek: Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς Prokópios ho Kaisareús; Latin: Procopius Caesariensis; c. 500 – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek scholar from Caesarea Maritima. Accompanying the Byzantine general Belisarius in Emperor Justinian's wars, Procopius became the principal Byzantine historian of the 6th century, writing the History of the Wars, the Buildings, and the Secret History. (Full article...)
    Procopius of Caesarea (Greek: Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς Prokópios ho Kaisareús; Latin: Procopius Caesariensis; c. 500 – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek scholar from Caesarea Maritima. Accompanying the Byzantine general Belisarius in Emperor Justinian's wars, Procopius became the principal Byzantine historian of the 6th century, writing the History of the Wars, the Buildings, and the Secret History. (Full article...)
  • Depiction from a contemporary portrait mosaic in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna
    Depiction from a contemporary portrait mosaic in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

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