Questions tagged [byzantine-empire]

The Byzantine Empire was an Empire in Southern Europe. Originally the Eastern portion of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine empire is typically dated from May 11, 330 AD. until 1453 when the capital of the empire Constantinople fell to Mehmet II of Ottoman Empire.

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64
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10answers
66k views

Why did the Western Roman Empire collapse but not the Eastern Roman Empire?

There were several crises in the “late” Roman Empire. For once, the crisis of the Republic, which resulted in the creation of Principat and later Dominat. This crisis may be related to the fact that ...
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What were the reasons for the Renaissance / scientific revolution in Europe?

One of the common reasons given for the Renaissance and the subsequent scientific revolution is the rediscovery of classical works by scholars in Europe and the social change that the study of those ...
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When did the Roman Empire fall according to contemporaries?

The Roman Empire divided itself into two parts, the Eastern Roman Empire headquartered in Constantinople and the Western Roman Empire headquartered in Rome. The city of Rome itself fell in the year ...
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When did the Greeks stop calling themselves “Roman”?

I've been reading a lot about the Byzantine Empire recently, and one of the things I see pointed out over and over again is that "Byzantine" is a term coined by historians, not by the people ...
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7answers
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At what point was the Byzantine Empire's decline irreversible?

I've heard various arguments that the Byzantines were dealt the mortal wound at Manzikert in 1071 which allowed the Turks to claim most of Anatolia and set the stage for the later sacking of ...
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What disruptions were brought about by Islam that the Arabians saw so many victories?

The Rashidun Caliphate had its inception with the advent of Islam. It was situated amidst two of the most formidable empires of the known world: The Byzantine Empire and The Sassanid Empire. But ...
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1answer
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What was the scale of eroticism in Byzantine theater?

When reading the texts of saint John the Chrysostome i found a very severe criticism of theater because of 'nude harlots' that could be seen there. I have also read some fragments of Procopius' Secret ...
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2answers
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How were Muslim Turks treated in Byzantine Empire?

While reading about the Palaiologan Renaissance on Wikipedia, I was intrigued to find that a mosque was rebuilt in Constantinople, which was destroyed during the fourth crusade(read about it here). I ...
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How significant was the Fall of Constantinople as an event leading to the Age of Exploration?

I have been hearing that the Fall of Constantinople was the most important event that ultimately led to the Age of Exploration, mainly the discovery of the New World by Columbus and of the sea route ...
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Why did the term “Byzantine Empire” enter common usage instead of “Eastern Roman Empire” or “Roman Empire”

Why did the term "Byzantine Empire" enter common usage instead of "Eastern Roman Empire" or "Roman Empire"? (or Imperium Graecorum?) Wikipedia says that the term Byzantine wasn't used until 1557, and ...
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What was “Greek fire”?

What was Greek fire? I read in my history book that it was a flamethrower. But in certain fantasy movies it's been portrayed as something similar to dynamite. What was it dynamite or what? Did it ...
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1answer
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Was Hagia Sophia built over a pagan temple?

According to Britannica's online article on Hagia Sophia: The original church on the site of the Hagia Sophia is said to have been built by Constantine I in 325 on the foundations of a pagan temple. ...
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What is the large blue object on the right in this picture showing Greek fire?

This well-known image showing a Byzantine dromon type ship using Greek fire has a blue object behind or on the ship on the right for which I have not been able to find any explanation: Image source: ...
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Was the interior of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople ever covered with mosaic icons?

The Church of Hagia Sophia has several prominent surviving icons that have stood the test of time and still exist today. A list of the surviving mosaics and their estimated dating are as follows: ...
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1answer
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The diminishing role of the “family name” throughout the Byzantine Empire

Why did the use of the family name (Cognomen), as one's surname, diminish and nearly disappear entirely during the 4th - 11th centuries throughout the Eastern Roman Empire? Brief history of the early ...
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“Musketeer” beard, mustache and hairdress - where did they originate?

This is a portrait of typical French musketeer, with typical triangle beard, mustache and long wavy hairs. I wonder where this fashion originates from? Is not it the Byzantine Empire where such ...
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What were the religious effects of the initial Arab conquests in the Byzantine Empire?

I've been reading some articles and books about the early Islamic conquests that started at about 634 CE, mainly in areas that belonged to the Byzantine Empire. Problem is, the majority of works I've ...
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Why did people die for their religion in the 400s CE (or even now)?

Before the institution of Christianity and the evolution of Buddhism into Mahayana Buddhism, people never felt quite so strongly about religion. Suddenly, people feel ready to die for it and die ...
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Was Theodoric the Great killed by Justinian?

In a recent Medieval History class my professor made a statement that Theodoric the Great after he signed up with Byzantines was killed on the orders of Justinian I so the Byzantines could take over ...
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1answer
447 views

Does Little Hagia sophia still contain Greek mosaics under the plaster?

Little Hagia Sophia is a small church in Istanbul located close to the famous and large Hagia Sophia. It was built around the same time and is said to have contained very beautiful mosaics. At the ...
12
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1answer
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Why couldn't Heraclius and Yazdegerd coordinate?

When Muslims had almost reached Aleppo in 635, Heraclius and Yazdegerd (III) sought an alliance and Heraclius married off his [grand?] daughter to Yazdegerd and they both were set to mount a ...
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Why didn't “Europe” support the Byzantine Empire against the Turks?

Why didn't Catholic Europe support the Byzantine empire against the Turks? Or did they? How? Yes, there were some differences between the Catholic and Orthodox interpretation of christianity but the ...
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2answers
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Why was a 10-year old kid appointed consul?

This guy was appointed consul in the Eastern Roman Empire in 491 when he was 10 (ten) years old. As far as I know this was a rather irregular proceeding - I don't recall other cases where children ...
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Why did the Sassanid and the Eastern Roman Empire fail to make a lasting peace?

The joint history of the Eastern Roman Empire and the Sassanid Empire appears to be dominated by almost constant warfare. My understanding is that this weakened both empires to the point of making the ...
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What did Nikolas Mystikos call his countrymen in official correspondence?

Inspired from a quote I used in one of my previous answers here, Patriarch Nikolas Mystikos of Constantinople wrote the following letter to Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir: Two Sovereignties, That of ...
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1answer
333 views

How widespread was practice of fusion of Graeco-Roman and barbarian names?

There are some instances when barbarian names were romanized in order to be similar to already existing Roman or Greek names. Just some examples that come to mind: Hebrew Martha -> Marta ("of Mars") ...
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538 views

When were the first mosques established in Constantinople?

In his book The Man of Numbers about Leonardo Pisano (Fibonacci), Keith Devlin quotes a problem from the Liber Abbaci (Devlin's spelling, I know most others spell it Liber Abici) which is titled "A ...
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Who were the successors of the Roman Empire?

I know that the Byzantine Empire was technically the Eastern Roman Empire, but did they carry over actual Roman traditions with them? Also, did the Holy Roman Empire have anything to do with the ...
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Greek Revolution: Where did the Greeks look for descendants of the Byzantine dynasties?

I recall reading in a few books that during the early to mid 19th century, the Greeks where trying to find European nobles who had genealogies linked to the dynasties of the old Byzantine Empire (...
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When did Abu Bakr agree to lower taxes for the Arabs living under the rule of Byzantine and Sassanid Empire?

The Wikipedia entry about the Muslim conquest of Persia says: First invasion of Mesopotamia (633) After the Ridda Wars, a tribal chief of north eastern Arabia, Al-Muthanna ibn Haritha, ...
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1answer
228 views

Who was the earliest historian of the Greco-Roman world to write something substantial about China?

I recently came across an article about the Byzantine historian Theophylact Simocattis and learned that he wrote about the reunification of China by Emperor Wen. I also know that Cosmas ...
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Was there a state in history where influence of sport fans on politics was greater than in medieval Byzantine Empire?

It is known that sport fans played a prominent role in Byzantine politics. Initially there were four teams: the greens, the reds, the whites and the blues. But later the reds and the whites were ...
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What happened to the Imperial Byzantine Family after the collapse of the empire?

After the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, what happened to the Imperial Byzantine family? Did they later establish other smaller kingdoms? Do any European Royal family trace their ancestry to them (...
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2answers
971 views

Do any Byzantine maps survive?

Are there any maps still surviving that were made in the Byzantine Empire? There are plenty of maps from Western Europe during this time period, but I haven't heard of any surviving from the eastern ...
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1answer
395 views

Was Constantinople the pinnacle of Roman city building? [closed]

As someone from Istanbul, I have always heard stories and legends about the olden Roman city, when it was Constantinople. I am curious about the one I really like, whether it has any truth in it, or ...
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2answers
654 views

Which regions/dynasties do the flags in this Fresco about Byzantine-Persian war represent?

Piero Della Francesca painted the following Fresco to depict battle between Heraclius of Byzantine Empire and Khosrou II of Persian Empire. Which regions or dynasties do the flags represent? From ...
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1answer
926 views

Primary sources from Umayyad times

Background Most narratives about the events during the Umayyad rule come from sources that were compiled during the succeeding Abbasid rule. Since the Abbasids came to power through armed ...
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How were heavily armored Cataphracts killed?

I've always wondered how an infantry soldier, without a pike (which cavalry wouldn't charge into normally), deliver a fatal blow to a Cataphract? What I know is that Cataphracts were used as heavy ...
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2answers
645 views

Why did not the Byzantines attempt to recapture the holy land from the Arabs?

Given the importance of the holy land to the Christians, as well as the importance of many great cities (Alexandria, Damascus and Jerusalem) to the Byzantine empire, why were not there any early ...
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1answer
255 views

First mention of Hungarian language

Some years ago, I read this comment: On a tangent, a Hungarian friend of mine who is a history teacher once told me that the earliest record of the Hungarian language is not, in fact, the list of ...
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1answer
504 views

Was the Byzantine follis larger than the Roman (and why, if yes)?

Today I saw in a museum a row of coins minted by Roman emperors. The last four coins were of the follis kind, belonging to Constantine the Great, Constantius II, Anastasius and Justinian I. . The ...
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1answer
197 views

What exactly were the religious beliefs of Gemistus Plethon?

According to wikipedia: [Gemistus Plethon] was a Greek scholar of Neoplatonic philosophy. He was one of the chief pioneers of the revival of Greek learning in Western Europe. In the dying years of ...
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1answer
114 views

Where are the agrarian reforms of Basil II codified?

I am interested in Byzantine law, especially under Basil II. Much weight is always attached to his agrarian reforms. I would like to read some of his laws in the original. I guess these reforms were ...
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1answer
546 views

Why was the Hexamillion wall incapable of preventing invasion?

The Hexamillion wall was created to fortify the only land route into the Peloponnese peninsula ~ but throughout it's history (450-1460 AD) it failed to prevent multiple invasions, acting only as a ...
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1answer
119 views

Many Questions Regarding the Principality of Theodoros

I think I've made a pretty decent list of Princes of Theodoros. However I'm still not quite sure about alot of them. Here is my list. Demetrios 1340 to 1370 (rough) Basil 1370 (rough) to 1380 (...
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1answer
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Why did the Byzantines not try to recover Syria during the war between Ali and Muawiya?

After the Caliph Othman get killed there was period of instability in the Islamic state for more than five years, and Syria was just taken by Muslims before around twenty years. Why did the ...
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1answer
251 views

Were there any plans to install a Western Roman Emperor after Belisarius reconquered the west?

Emperor Justinian I sent his general Belisarius to the west in 535 AD to reconquer the lost provinces of the Western Roman Empire after its fall in 476 AD. Did Justinian I have any plans to install a ...