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

Maurice's Balkan campaigns were a series of military expeditions conducted by Byzantine emperor Maurice (582-602) in an attempt to defend the Balkan provinces of the Eastern Roman Empire from the Avars and Slavs. Maurice was the only Byzantine Emperor, except for Anastasius I, who did his best to implement determined Balkan policies in Late Antiquity, paying adequate attention to the safety of the northern frontier against Barbarian incursions. During the second half of his reign, the Balkan campaigns were the main focus of his foreign policies, as a favourable peace treaty with Persia in 591 enabled him to shift his experienced troops from the Persian front to the region. The refocusing of Roman efforts soon paid off: the frequent Roman failures before 591 were succeeded by a string of successes afterwards.

Although it is widely believed that his campaigns were only a token measure and that Roman rule over the Balkans collapsed immediately after his overthrow in 602, Maurice was in fact well on his way to forestalling the Slavic landfall on the Balkans, nearly preserving the order of Late Antiquity there. His success was only undone over ten years after his overthrow. Retrospectively, these campaigns were the last in the series of classical Roman campaigns against the Barbarians on the Rhine and Danube. With respect to the Slavs, these campaigns had the typical trait of Roman campaigns against unorganized tribes and of what we now call asymmetric warfare.

Selected biography

Basil II and Constantine VIII, holding cross. Nomisma histamenon.

Basil II, later surnamed the Bulgar-slayer (Greek: Βασίλειος Β΄ Βουλγαροκτόνος, Basileios II Boulgaroktonos, 958 – December 15, 1025), known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.

The first part of his long reign was dominated by civil war against powerful generals from the Anatolian aristocracy. Following their submission, Basil oversaw the stabilization and expansion of the Byzantine Empire's eastern frontier, and above all, the final and complete subjugation of Bulgaria, the Empire's foremost European foe, after a prolonged struggle. At his death, the Empire stretched from Southern Italy to the Caucasus and from the Danube to the borders of Palestine, its greatest territorial extent since the Muslim conquests, four centuries earlier.

Despite near-constant warfare, Basil also showed himself a capable administrator, reducing the power of the great land-owning families who dominated the Empire's administration and military, and filling the Empire's treasury. Of far-reaching importance was Basil's decision to offer the hand of his sister Anna to Vladimir I of Kiev in exchange for military support, which led to the Christianization of the Kievan Rus', and the incorporation of Russia within the Byzantine cultural sphere.

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New articles

February 2017

New creations

Battle of Gallipoli (1416) • Eudokia Komnene (daughter of Alexios I) • Konstantinos Amantos • Poutza

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles


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

Major expansions/de-stubbed articles

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

April 2016

New creations

Abd Allah ibn al-Fadl • Adada, Pisidia • Alexios Komnenos (protosebastos) • Anseau de Cayeux • Florentius of Sardis • Giovanni Colonna (died 1245) • Ja'far ibn Dinar al-Khayyat • John Angelos (protostrator) • John Ises • Malakasioi • Manuel Komnenos Raoul • Manuel Raoul • Melite (ancient city) • Metropolis of Corfu, Paxoi and the Diapontian Islands • Michael Gabras • Rashid al-Dawla Mahmud • Raymond-Joseph Loenertz • Ya'qub ibn Ishaq al-Tamimi

March 2016

New creations

Battle of the Gulf of Corinth • Beresford Hope Cross • Byzantine Empire under the Doukas dynasty • Byzantine enamel • Christ Pantocrator (Sinai) • Icon of the Annunciation, St. Catherine's Monastery • Methodius II of Constantinople • Panagia tis Angeloktistis • Patricia Clementina • Pseudo-Nonnus • Sacra Parallela

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)


  • 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)


  • 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)


  • 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

Selected picture

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


Byzantine Emperors


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