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End of the Roman Empire

The End of the Western Roman Empire
The Division of the Empire
The Barbarian Invasions
The Western Empire Collapses
Constantinople: The Great Crossroads

Byzantium Index

The Byzantine Empire : Introduction
Constantine the Great
Emperor Theodosius
Byzantine Conquest - Justinian
The Schism of Christianity into two Churches - The Orthodox Church
The End of Byzantium
Chronology of the Byzantine Emperors
The Orthodox Church
Iconostasis
Visit to an Orthodox Church
English Workshop, Classwork and Homework

Living History Project

Living History Project Index

Emperors of the Byzantine Empire

Dynasty of Constantine
Constantine I (the Great)

324 - 337

Constantine II, Constantius and Constans

337 - 340

Constantinius

340 - 361

Julian

340 - 363

Jovian

340 - 364

Valentian I and Valens

364 - 375

Valens, Gratian and Valentian II

375 - 378

Dynasty of Theodosius
Theododius I (the Great)

378 - 395

395 Roman Empire divided by Theodosius into Western and Eastern Empires

Arcadius

395 - 408

Theodosius II

408 - 450

Marcian

450 - 474

Dynasty of Leo
Leo I (457 - 474)
Leo II

474

Zeno

474 - 491

Anastasius

491 -518

Dynasty of Justinian
Justin

518 - 527

Justinian I

527 - 565

Justin II

565 - 578

Tiberius II

578 - 582

Maurice

582 - 602

Phocas

602 - 610

Dynasty of Heraclius
Heraclius

610 - 641

Constans II

641 - 668

Constantine IV

668 - 685

Justinian II (was banished)

685 - 695

Leontius

695 - 698

Tiberius III

698 - 705

Justinian II (restored)

705 - 711

No Dynasty
Bardanes

711 - 713

Anastasius II

713 - 716

Theodosius III

716 - 717

Isaurian Dynasty
Leo III

717 - 741

Constantien V Copronymus

741 - 775

Leo IV

775 - 780

Constantine VI

780 - 797

Irene

797 - 802

No Dynasty
Nicephorus I
Strauracius (811)

802 - 811

Micheal I

811 - 813

Leo V

813 - 820

Phrygian Dynasty
Micheal II

820 - 829

Theophilius

829 - 842

Micheal III

842 - 867

Macedonian Dynasty
Basil I

867 - 886

Leo VI and Alexander

886 - 912

Alexander

913

Constantine VII Porphygenitus

913 - 959

Romanus II

959 - 963

Nicephorus II Phocas

963 - 969

John Tzimiskes

969 - 976

Basil II Bulgaroctonus

976 - 1025

Constantine VIII

1025 - 1028

Romanus III Argyrus

1028 - 1034

Michael IV (the Paphlagonian)

1034 - 1041

Micheal V Calaphates

1041 - 1042

Zoe and Theodora

1042

Constantine IX Monomachus

1042 - 1055

1054 The Schism

Theodora

1055 - 1056

Micheal VI Stratioticus

1056 - 1057

Beginnings of the Commenian Dynasty
Isaac I Commenos

1057 - 1059

Constantine X Ducas

1059 - 1067

Romanus IV Diogenes

1067 - 1071

Michale VII Ducas

1071 - 1078

Nicephorus III Botaniates

1078 - 1081

Dynasty of the Comnenos
Alexius I Commenos

1081 - 1118

John II Commenos

1118 - 1143

Manuel I Commenos

1143 - 1180

Alexius II Commenos

1180 - 1183

Andronicus I Commenos

1183 - 1185

Dynasty of the Angeli
Isaac II

1185 - 1195

Alexius III

1195 - 1203

Isaac II (restored) and Alexius IV

1203 - 1204

Alexius V Ducas Murtzuphlus

1204

1204 Loss of Constantinople

Dynasty of the Nicea
Theodore I Lascaris

1204 - 1222

John III Ducas Vatatzes

1222 - 1254

Theodore II Lascaris

1254 - 1258

John IV Lascaris

1258 - 1261

Dynasty of the Nicea
Michael VIII Paleologus

1259 - 1282

1261 Constantinople Retaken

Andronicus II
Michael IX (1293 - 1343)

1282 - 1343

Andronicus III
John V (1341 - 1376)
John VI Cantancuzenus (1341 - 1354)

1341 - 1376

Andronicus IV

1376 - 1379

John V (restored)
John VII (1390)

1379 - 1391

Manuel II

1391 - 1425

John VIII

1425 - 1448

Constantine XI Dragases

1449 - 1453

 

 

 

 

THE LIVING HISTORY PROJECT

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The Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Government

Justinian's successor Heraclius I (610-641) was responsible for saving the remains of Byzantium from the ruinous invasions of Persians and Barbarians, as well as sorting out the terrible state of government finances after Justinian's excesses. However, this was also the time of Mohammed and early Islam. Mohammed's followers were already invading deep into Byzantine Syria. Despite these trials, Heraclius I was able to establish a measure of peace and security through good government, but it was Leo the Isaurian (717-741) who was most effective in halting foreign invasions of Byzantium.

While the Byzantine Empire was greatly reduced in size by 1000, it had developed a well organised system of government, a stable administration or civil service, and a fair army. These were three important elements which assured the survival of the Byzantines. The Emperor of Byzantium was no longer called Caesar, but Basileus instead. The power and authority of the Basileus was thought to be absolute, and the Christian Basileus was only responsible to God.

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The Schism of Christianity into two Churches - The Orthodox Church

In 1054 the Christian Church was divided into two movements, Catholic and Orthodox. This Skhisma (Greek for break or divide,) confirmed the independence of Byzance from Rome. This schism was a result of several rather complicated factors which alienated the East in Byzance, (Constantinople) from the West in Rome.

  • In 988 Russian and Ukrainian Slavs had converted to Christianity under Prince Vladimir in Kiev. The new Russian Christians had a very different experience of life and spirituality than the older Christians. Their conversion changed the balance of interests among theologians in Constantinople.

  • Between 1000 and 1053, Constantinople and Rome argued over religious matters, such as whether popes in Roman and Patriarchs in Constantinople should be allowed to marry and have families, or if whether Jesus Christ should be emphasised rather than Christianity's Holy Spirit. The Byzantines emphasised mystical and philosophical spirituality, but the Roman church emphasised the material existence of Jesus Christ and was more practical and obedience-focused.

  • The most important reason for a rupture was the Iconoclastic controversy in 1053-54. This was a dispute about images, begun by Leo the Isaurian in the period 717-741, when he adopted certain elements of Islamic belief. For the Byzantines and for Muslims, worshipping images in the place of their God and prophets was thought to be wrong. So in 1054 the Byzantine Patriarch accused the Pope in Rome of supporting the worship of images, a grave fault in the eyes of the Patriarch in Constantinople.

  • These were strong elements for a schism in the Church, but the separation was further confirmed in 1204. The Western Catholic Christians did not always show a lot of respect for their Eastern neighbours. In 1204 Frankish Crusaders were conducting a holy war against non-Christians, following a Byzantine Patriarch's request for help. However, during the Franks' crusade they attacked Christian Constantinople for their personal advantage! A consequence of this was that the Orthodox Byzantines became very distrustful of Catholic Western Europe.

 

The End of Byzantium

A modern historian has written: Between 1000 and 1453, the Empire became more and more introverted, that means more concerned with its own internal affairs than with those of the rest of Europe, Asia or Africa. Internal political disputes became vicious, although they did not affect the stability of Empire. As in the ancient Roman Empire, the Byzantines had many palace revolutions and ambitious assassins.

In 1453 Byzantium became Muslim following its defeat by the Ottoman Turks.

 

Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire was greatly reduced in size by 1000

 

 

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