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Byzantine Empires History

The Byzantine Empire was founded in 395 A. D., by the two sons of Theodosius the Great, Honorius and Arcadius, when he divided the The Roman Empire. Arcadius was made emperor of Western Europe, but that portion soon passed into the hands of the barbarians. Honorius became ruler of the Byzantine Empire, which existed nearly a thousand years, from the death of Theodosius the Great to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

For several centuries Constantinople represents both the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Byzantine empire. Meanwhile Rome gradually establishes a new identity - as the seat of the Christian pope.

Here is the Byzantine Empire Timeline:
667 BC- founding of Byzantium

AD 330- Constantinople (Byzantium) becomes Roman capital

AD 395- Empire permanently splits after death of Theodosius

AD 527- Justinian crowned emperor

AD 537- Hagia Sophia is built

AD 554- Justinians generals recover much of the Roman Empire

AD 568- Italy is captured by the Lombards

AD 1014- Basil II defeats Bulgarians at Kleidon, becomes Bulgar Slayer

AD 1018- Bulgaria is conquered

AD 1025- Death of Basil II, beginning of decline

AD 1054- Great Schism

AD 1081- Alexius I arrests decline, joins 1st Crusade

AD 1097- Byzantine and Crusade armies recapture Nicea

AD 1180- Death of Manuel Comnenus restarts decline

AD 1204- Crusaders capture Constantinople and form Latin Empire

AD 1261- Michael Palaeologus recaptures Constantinople

AD 1453- Ottoman Turks capture Constantinople, fall of the Empire

After the death of Comnenus the Byzantine Empire fell into permanent decline. The poor leaders that followed lost all of the gains that were obtained over the past hundred years.

Byzantine Empire Symbol

The Byzantine Imperial flag is yellow with a black crowned double-headed eagle.
The double-headed eagle was the symbol of the Palaiologos, the last Greek-speaking "Roman" dynasty to rule from Constantinople. Read more on the double-headed eagle.

Emporer Justinian I

Territorially the East Roman, or Byzantine, Empire was at its height at the end of the reign of the Emperor Justinian I (527 - 565 A.D.).

Called "The Great", Justinian presided over an aggressive foreign policy; the chief goal of which was to restore to Imperial rule the lost territories of the Western Roman Empire. Largely due to the extraordinary talents of his two principal generals, Belisarius and Narsus, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, southern Spain were recovered. Read more on Byzantine emporor Justinian I

Byzantine Empire Languages

Since the empire was originally the eastern part of the Roman Empire, Latin was the language used at first in government, for church rites, and at the royal court. Greek, however, was the language most widely spoken in the domain; by the mid-seventh century it was the official language, and western Europeans came to call Byzantium the Greek Empire. Read more on Byzantine empire languages.

Byzantine Empire Divine Liturgy

When we examine the ancient documents dealing with the Antiochene and Byzantine Liturgies, the writings of St. John Chrysostom, for instance, we find that the Liturgy began with a greeting of the bishop to the people.

But in today’s celebration of the Byzantine Liturgy, rather lengthy ceremonies and prayers precede the reading of the Epistle. In very solemn circumstances these ceremonies can fill an entire hour. Read more on Byzantine Empire Divine Liturgy



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