Portal:Byzantine Empire

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The Byzantine Empire was the predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally known as Byzantium. Initially the eastern half of the Roman Empire (often called the Eastern Roman Empire in this context), it survived the 5th century fragmentation and collapse of the Western Roman Empire and continued to thrive, existing for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms applied in later centuries; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire (Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, tr. Basileia Rhōmaiōn; Latin: Imperium Romanum), and Romania (Ῥωμανία).

Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the transitional period during which the Roman Empire's east and west divided. In 285, the emperor Diocletian (r. 284–305) partitioned the Roman Empire's administration into eastern and western halves. Between 324 and 330, Constantine I (r. 306–337) transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium, later known as Constantinople ("City of Constantine") and Nova Roma ("New Rome"). Under Theodosius I (r. 379–395), Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and others such as Roman polytheism were proscribed. And finally, under the reign of Heraclius (r. 610–641), the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use instead of Latin. In summation, Byzantium is distinguished from ancient Rome proper insofar as it was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by Orthodox Christianity rather than Roman polytheism.

The borders of the Empire evolved a great deal over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the Empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the historically Roman western Mediterranean coast, including north Africa, Italy, and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries. During the reign of Maurice (r. 582–602), the Empire's eastern frontier was expanded and north stabilised. However, his assassination caused a two-decade-long war with Sassanid Persia which exhausted the Empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. During the 10th-century Macedonian dynasty, the Empire experienced a golden age, which culminated in the reign of Emperor Basil II "the Bulgar-Slayer" (r. 976–1025). However, shortly after Basil's death, a neglect of the vast military built up during the Late Macedonian dynasty caused the Empire to begin to lose territory in Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks. Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes (r. 1068–1071) and several of his predecessors had attempted to rid Eastern Anatolia of the Turkish menace, but this endeavor proved ultimately untenable - especially after the disastrous Battle of Manzikert in 1071.

Despite a prominent period of revival (1081-1180) under the steady leadership of the Komnenos family, who played an instrumental role in the First and Second Crusades, the final centuries of the Empire exhibit a general trend of decline. In 1204, after a period of strife following the downfall of the Komnenos dynasty, the Empire was delivered a mortal blow by the forces of the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked and the Empire dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople and re-establishment of the Empire in 1261, Byzantium remained only one of a number of small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. This volatile period led to its progressive annexation by the Ottomans over the 15th century and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Selected article

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Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction within a culture of the culture's own religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually for religious or political motives. People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts. Conversely, people who revere or venerate religious images are called iconodules.

In Christianity, iconoclasm has generally been motivated by a literal interpretation of the Ten Commandments, which forbid the making and worshipping of "graven images". The two Byzantine outbreaks of iconoclasm during the 8th and 9th centuries were unusual in that the use of images was the main issue in the dispute, rather than a by-product of wider concerns.

As with other doctrinal issues in the Byzantine period, the controversy was by no means restricted to the clergy, or to arguments from theology. The continuing cultural confrontation with, and military threat from, Islam probably had a bearing on the attitudes of both sides. Iconoclasm seems to have been supported by many from the East of the Empire, and refugees from the provinces taken over by the Muslims. It has been suggested that their strength in the army at the start of the period, and the growing influence of Balkan forces in the army (generally considered to lack strong iconoclast feelings) over the period may have been important factors in both beginning and ending imperial support for iconoclasm.

Selected biography

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Flavius Belisarius (Greek: Βελισάριος) (505(?) – 565) was one of the greatest generals of the Byzantine Empire and one of the most acclaimed generals in history. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian I's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Western Roman Empire, which had been lost just under a century previously.

Although comparatively less well-known than other famed military leaders such as Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte, his skills and accomplishments were matched by very few other military commanders in history.

One of the defining features of Belisarius' career was his operating under conditions of little or no support from his emperor Justinian and Byzantium, and nonetheless succeeding through military genius. He is among a select group of men considered to be the "Last of the Romans".

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April 2017

New creations

Battle of Gardiki • George the Confessor • George the Standard-Bearer • John VIII bar Abdoun • Paul of Xeropotamou

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

Baioulos

March 2017

New creations

Byzantine churches at Sardis • Byzantine glass • Constantine, son of Theophilos • Limburg Staurotheke • Mary the Younger • Pseudo-Simeon • Ralph-Johannes Lilie • Synodicon Vetus • Thekla, daughter of Theophilos • Theophilos Palaiologos • Troyes Casket • Worcester Hunt Mosaic

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

Agios Neophytos Monastery • Battle of the Masts • Daphni Monastery • Junayd of Aydın • Lazarus Zographos • Pietro Loredan • Siege of Thessalonica (1422–1430)

February 2017

New creations

Battle of Gallipoli (1416) • Eudokia Komnene (daughter of Alexios I) • Konstantinos Amantos • Mosaic Fragment with Man Leading a Giraffe • Poutza

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

Vatatzes

January 2017

New creations

Battle of Keramaia • Battle of Megara (1359) • Battle of Milazzo (888) • Eustace of Flanders • Hospitaller conquest of Rhodes • John Kammytzes • Megas archon • Sebastohypertatos

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

Constantine Angelos • Guy Pallavicini • Iyad ibn Ghanm • Paul (exarch) • Theodora Komnene (daughter of Alexios I)

December 2016

New creations

Amytzantarioi • Anthony Bryer • Council of Blachernae (1285) • John Taronites (sebastos) • Metropolis of Elis and Olena • Michael Apsaras • Michael Taronites • Nicholas Hagiotheodorites • Panhypersebastos • Protoierakarios • Protokynegos • Protosebastos • Rodolphe Guilland • Salīhids • Siege of Taormina (962) • Skouterios • Trapezuntine Civil War • Tzanichites • Üçayak Byzantine Church • Umayr ibn al-Hubab al-Sulami

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

Abu'l-A'war • Safwan ibn Muattal • Stratopedarches

November 2016

New creations

Abydikos • Baioulos • Battle of Sufetula • Diocese of Hierapolis • Ernst Stein • Helena Angelina Komnene • John Pitzigaudes • Lazia (theme) • Mark Whittow • Theodore Daphnopates

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

Battle of Andrassos • Al-Muktafi • Shibl al-Dawla Nasr

October 2016

New creations

Andronikos of Sardis • Antony of Larissa • Bishop Samuel's inscription • Dagisthaeus • Diocese of Philippi • George Kleidas • Karaman Castle • Mansur ibn Lu'lu' • Petra, Lazica • Vartsikhe

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

Berthold II von Katzenelnbogen

September 2016

New creations

Aziz al-Dawla • Constantine Chabaron • Feraklos Castle • Gabriel Sphrantzes • John Phakrases • Metropolis of Iconium

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Sino-Roman relations

August 2016

New creations

Al-Hasan ibn Ammar • Apokaukos • Barjawan • Geremia Ghisi • Numayrid dynasty • Siege of Medina (1053–54) • Siege of Melite (870) • Tymandus • Usdibad • Yazid ibn Abi Kabsha al-Saksaki

July 2016

New creations

Byzantine–Hungarian War (1127–29) • Church of Panagia Kera • Church of Panagia Protothronos • Conon, Count of Montaigu • Godfrey of Esch • Monastery of St. Simeon Stylites the Younger • Skiathos Castle

June 2016

New creations

Abulchares • Andronikos Kontostephanos (son of Isaac) • Anushtakin al-Dizbari • Fanari, Karditsa • Ferran d'Aunés • Flavius Hermogenes • Flavius Studius • Ignatius of Bulgaria • Isaura Nea • Isaura Palaea • Jarrahids • John Doukas Kamateros • John Kontostephanos (son of Stephen) • Kontostephanos • Lopadion • Oikeios • Petraki Monastery • Porta Panagia • Stephen Kontostephanos • Strategius Musonianus • Trachy (currency) • Trikala Castle • Zoodochos Pigi Church, Dervenosalesi

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

Byzantine Bath (Thessaloniki) • Cosmas I of Alexandria

May 2016

New creations

Basil Doukas Kamateros • Chariton of Constantinople • Constantine IV of Constantinople • Dositheus of Constantinople • Germanus III of Constantinople • Gregory Kamateros • Leontius of Constantinople • Lombard–Gepid War (567) • Macarius of Constantinople • Nicetas II of Constantinople • Theodore Pantechnes

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

Andronikos Kamateros


External links and resources

Societies of Byzantine studies

  • Association Internationale des Études Byzantines (AIEB) (English) (French) (Greek)
  • Asociación Cultural Hispano-Helénica (Spanish)
  • Associazione Italiana di Studi Bizantini (AISB) (Italian)
  • Australian Association for Byzantine Studies (English)
  • Byzantine Studies Association of North America (BSANA) (English)
  • Byzantine Studies Conference (English)
  • Bysantinska Sällskapet - Swedish Byzantine society (Swedish)
  • Centre d'Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance (French)
  • Český národní byzantologický komitét (ČNBK) (Czech)
  • Christian Archaeological Society (Greek) (English)
  • Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Förderung Byzantinischer Studien (German)
  • Ελληνική Επιτροπή Βυζαντινών Σπουδών (Greek)
  • Österreichische Byzantinische Gesellschaft (German)
  • Национальный Комитет византинистов Российской Федерации (Russian)
  • Nordic Byzantine Network (NBN) (Swedish) (Norwegian) (Danish) (English)
  • The Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (English)

Journals of Byzantine studies

  • Византийский Временник Российской Академии Наук (Russian)
  • Bryn Mawr Classical Review (English)
  • BYZANTINA. Annual Review of the "Byzantine Research Centre", University of Thessaloniki (English) (Greek)
  • BYZANTINA SYMMEIKTA, Institute for Byzantine Research (Greece) (English) (Greek)
  • Deltion of the Christian Archaeological Society (Greece) (English) (Greek)
  • Dumbarton Oaks Publications (incl. free online e-books) (English)
  • Ellinika, Society for Macedonian Studies (Greek)
  • Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, Duke University (English)
  • Revue des études byzantines (French)
  • Zbornik radova Vizantoloskog instituta (English)(Serbian)
  • Επετηρίς Εταιρείας Βυζαντινών Σπουδών, Society for Byzantine Studies of Athens (Greek) (online)
  • Βυζαντιακά, Hellenic Association of Historical Sciences

Byzantine studies and research institutes

  • AHRB Centre for Byzantine Cultural History (English)
  • Византолошки институт САНУ - Institute for Byzantine Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Serbian) (English)
  • Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC (English)
  • Ινστιτούτο Βυζαντινών Ερευνών (ΙΒΕ) - Institute of Byzantine Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens (Greek) (English)
  • Institut für Byzantinische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte, University of Heidelberg (German)
  • Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik, Münster (German)
  • Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik, University of Vienna (German)
  • Institut für Byzanzforschung (IBF), Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna (German)
  • Κέντρο Βυζαντινών Ερευνών (ΚΒΕ) - Byzantine Research Centre, University of Thessaloniki (Greek) (English)
  • The Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research (English)
  • Εταιρείας Βυζαντινών Σπουδών - Society for Byzantine Studies of Athens (Greek)

Projects

  • The Amorium Excavations Project (English) (Turkish)
  • The Archeology of Constantinople and its Hinterland (English)
    • Anastasian Wall Project (English)
    • The Water Supply of Constantinople (English)
  • The Euchaita/Avkat Project (English)
  • Inscriptions of Aphrodisias (English)
  • Tabula Imperii Byzantini (German)

Bibliography and primary sources

  • Auteurs Grecs, comprehensive list of works by ancient Greek and Byzantine authors in the original and French translation (Greek)(French)
  • Bibliography on Byzantine Material Culture and Daily Life, University of Vienna] (English)
  • Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae (English) (texts in original Greek and Latin translations)
  • Byzantine Studies Bibliographies, Fordham University (English)
  • Internet Medieval Sourcebook. Selected Sources: Byzantium, Fordham University (English)
  • MYRIOBIBLOS, the e-text Library of the Church of Greece (English) (Greek)
  • Procopius: Buildings, at Lacus Curtius (English)
  • Procopius: The Secret History, at Lacus Curtius (English)
  • John Bagnall Bury: History of the Later Roman Empire (English)
  • Translated Excerpts from Byzantine Sources: The Imperial Centuries, c. 700-1204, by Paul Stephenson (English)

On-line manuscript collections

  • Greek Manuscripts at Oxford
  • Greek Manuscripts at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
  • Greek Manuscripts at the Houghton Library, Harvard
  • Codex Sinaiticus
  • Digital Library of the Leimonos Monastery
  • Digital Scriptorium at Berkeley, University of California
  • John Skylitzes - Byzantine History, at Biblioteca Digital Hispanica

Art, museums and exhibitions

  • Byzantium (ca. 330–1453), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (English)
  • Βυζαντινό και Χριστιανικό Μουσείο - Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens, Greece (Greek) (English)
  • Chora Church Museum (English)
  • Icons and Iconoclasm in Byzantium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (English)
  • Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (English)
  • Μουσείο Βυζανινού Πολιτισμού - Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki, Greece (Greek) (English)
  • God's Regents on Earth: A Thousand Years of Byzantine Imperial Seals, from the Dumbarton Oaks Collection (English)

Prosopography

  • 12 Byzantine Rulers, by Lars Brownworth (audiobooks) (English)
  • De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and Their Families (English)
  • Medieval Lands: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families (English)
  • Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit (German) (English)
  • Prosopography of the Byzantine World (English)

Other

  • Byzantine Coins (English)
  • Byzantine Coinage, Chronological Index of Byzantine Rulers (English)
  • Byzantium 1200 (English)
  • The Byzantine churches of Istanbul, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (English)
  • Byzantine Monuments of Attica, Institute of Byzantine Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation (English) (Greek)
  • Byzantine Seals Online Catalogue, Dumbarton Oaks Research Institute (English)
  • Coins of the Byzantine Empire (English)
  • Digitales Forschungsarchiv Byzanz, University of Vienna (German) (English)
  • Ίδρυμα Μείζονος Ελληνισμού - Foundation of the Hellenic World (English) (Greek)
    • Hellenic History (English) (Greek)
    • Encyclopedia of the Hellenic World: Asia Minor (English) (Greek)
    • Encyclopedia of the Hellenic World: Black Sea (English) (Greek)
    • Encyclopedia of the Hellenic World: Constantinople (English) (Greek)
  • Interactive Map of Constantinople, University of Toronto (English)
  • Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization, Harvard University (English)
  • ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World (English)
  • PLEIADES: A community-built gazetteer and graph of ancient places (English)
  • Η Καστροπολιτεία του Μυστρά, Hellenic Ministry of Culture (Greek)
  • LEVANTIA - Social history of the Levant (English)
  • Roman and Byzantine Law (English)
  • Suda On Line: Byzantine Lexicography (English)

Things to do

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Recognised content

This is a list of articles related to the Byzantine Empire that have been recognized by the Wikipedia community as being of particular quality.

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Featured articles:

Basiliscus • Battle of Dyrrhachium (1081) • Battle of Kalavrye • Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347 • Byzantine Empire • Byzantine navy • Chariot racing • Greece runestones • Gregory of Nazianzus • Istanbul • Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria • Manuel I Komnenos • Maximus the Confessor • Paul Palaiologos Tagaris • Roman–Persian Wars • Sack of Amorium • Siege of Constantinople (717–718) • Simeon I of Bulgaria • Theodore Komnenos Doukas • Thomas the Slav • Treaty of Devol • Jovan Vladimir

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A-class articles:

Abbasid invasion of Asia Minor (782) • Abbasid invasion of Asia Minor (806) • Abu'l-Aswar Shavur ibn Fadl • Ahmad ibn Tulun • Al-Mundhir III ibn al-Harith • Bardanes Tourkos • Battle of Lalakaon • Battle of Solachon • Bessas (general) • Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628 • John Kourkouas • John Troglita • Priscus (general) • Siege of Constantinople (674–678) • Sviatoslav's invasion of Bulgaria • Vitalian (general)

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Good articles:

Abdallah al-Battal • Abu Taghlib • Alexios Apokaukos • Alexios Philanthropenos • Alexios Strategopoulos • Artabanes (general) • Bardas • Baths of Zeuxippus • Battle of Akroinon • Battle of Alexandretta • Battle of Andrassos • Battle of Anzen • Battle of Apamea • Battle of Arcadiopolis (970) • Battle of Bathys Ryax • Battle of Constantinople (922) • Battle of Kleidion • Battle of Kopidnadon • Battle of Krasos • Battle of Manzikert • Battle of Mauropotamos • Battle of the Gates of Trajan • Battle of the Olive Grove of Koundouros • Battle of Yarmouk • Byzantine–Arab Wars • Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 894–896 • Byzantine Empire under the Komnenos dynasty • Byzantine Greeks • Byzantine–Ottoman Wars • Chalke • Chlemoutsi • Church of St. Polyeuctus • Constantine Angelos • Constantine Diogenes • Constantine Doukas (usurper) • Constantine Lekapenos • Constantine the Great • Cutzinas • David III of Tao • Domestic of the Schools • Droungarios of the Fleet • Droungarios of the Watch • Emirate of Crete • Eustathios Argyros (general under Leo VI) • Eustathios Daphnomeles • Eutharic • Gabras • Geoffrey of Briel • George Mouzalon • Germanus (cousin of Justinian I) • Glarentza • Gubazes II of Lazica • Harald Hardrada • Heraclius • Heraclius the Elder • John Doukas (megas doux) • John Doukas (sebastokrator) • John I Doukas of Thessaly • John Komnenos (Domestic of the Schools) • John Komnenos Asen • John Komnenos the Fat • John of Brienne • John Palaiologos (brother of Michael VIII) • Justin (consul 540) • Justinian I • Law School of Beirut • Licario • Manuel Erotikos Komnenos • Manuel the Armenian • Marianos Argyros • Martino Zaccaria • Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik • Michael I Komnenos Doukas • Michael Bourtzes • Michael Dokeianos • Michael Lachanodrakon • Momchil • al-Muktafi • Muslim conquest of Sicily • Nikephoros (Caesar) • Nikephoros Melissenos • Nikephoros Phokas Barytrachelos • Nikephoros Phokas the Elder • Nikephoros Xiphias • Orphanotrophos • Peter the Patrician • Protostrator • Sack of Damietta (853) • Sa'd al-Dawla • Salih ibn Mirdas • Sayf al-Dawla • Shahrbaraz • Siege of Berat (1280–1281) • Siege of Constantinople (860) • Siege of Damascus (634) • Siege of Jerusalem (637) • Siege of Kamacha (766) • Siege of Nicaea (727) • Siege of Patras (805 or 807) • Siege of Syracuse (877–878) • Siege of Tyana • Solomon (Byzantine general) • Staurakios (eunuch) • Stephen Lekapenos • Stylianos Zaoutzes • Syrgiannes Palaiologos • Theodore Synadenos • Theodosius (son of Maurice) • Theoktistos • Turahan Bey • Tzachas • Umar al-Aqta • Uprising of Ivaylo • Vandalic War • Walls of Constantinople

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