The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire that existed throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Popularly known simply as the Roman or Romania by its inhabitants and neighbors, the empire was centered on the capital of Constantinople and was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State.
The Empire existed for more than a thousand years approximately from 306 to 1453. During its existence, the Empire remained one of the most powerful economic, cultural, and military forces in Europe, despite setbacks and territorial losses, especially during the Roman-Persian and Byzantine-Arab Wars. The Empire recovered during the Macedonian dynasty, rising again to become a preeminent power in the Eastern Mediterranean by the late 10th century, rivalling the Fatimid Caliphate.
After 1071, however, much of Asia Minor, the Empire's heartland, was lost to the Seljuk Turks. The Komnenian restoration regained some ground and briefly re established dominance in the 12th century, but following the death of Andronikos I Komnenos and the end of the Komnenos dynasty in the late 12th century the Empire declined again. The Empire received a mortal blow in 1204 from the Fourth Crusade, when it was dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms.
Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople and re-establishment of the Empire in 1261, under the Palaiologan emperors, Byzantium remained only one of many rival states in the area for the final 200 years of its existence. This period, however, was the most culturally productive time in the Empire. Successive civil wars in the 14th century further sapped the Empire's strength. Most of its remaining territories were lost in the Byzantine-Ottoman Wars, which culminated in the Fall of Constantinople and the cession of remaining territories to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.
The Ottoman Empire or Sublime Ottoman State, on the other hand, was an empire that lasted from 27 July 1299 to 29 October 1923. At the height of its power, in the 16th and 17th centuries, it controlled territory in southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia, and North Africa. The Ottoman Empire contained 29 provinces and numerous vassal states, some of which were later absorbed into the empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.
With Constantinople as its capital city, and vast control of lands around the eastern Mediterranean during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent between 1520 to 1566, the empire was at the center of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries.
The Ottoman Empire came to an end, as a regime under a caliphate, on 1 November 1922. It formally ended, as a de jure state, on 24 July 1923, under the Treaty of Lausanne. The Republic of Turkey, which was officially proclaimed on 29 October 1923, became one of the successor states of the Ottoman Empire as part of the treaty.
The Roman, East Roman or Byzantine as it was referred to by the Turks and Ottoman Empires are the main civilizations that have greatly affected European history. Therefore, even today these empires are being studied and compared with one another. Christianity witnessed a bifurcation into Western Christianity, whose center was Rome, and Eastern Christianity, whose center was Constantinople.
The main difference between the two Christianities resulted from their locations and other geographically related factors. The Greek, which Rome superseded, Arab and Persian civilizations with which Rome fought were not eradicated or even alien to one another. Also Romans, Byzantines and Turks knew each other and the interaction continued. The Roman period experienced pagan polytheistic religions and the birth of Christianity. The Eastern Roman Empire symbolized Christianity, while the Ottoman Empire symbolized Islam.
A dominant language existed in the official domain as they were universal empires, though the lands they ruled were multilingual. Latin in the Roman Empire, Greek in Byzantium and Turkish in the Ottoman Empire were the dominant languages. In the public offices of the Ottoman Empire, many people of different origins could be promoted within their posts based solely on merit. Many non-Muslims in particular were able to work in provincial public office. The Byzantine Empire thrived longer than the Ottoman Empire; however, the Ottoman Empire symbolizes diversity more than the former.
These empires shared similarities with the civilizations that they superseded, and they never tried to change all that they had inherited from them. The Turks, for example, did not change the names of places, but rather adjusted them to “normalize” pronunciation with the Turkish language. The names of places ending in “polis” were transformed into “bolu-boli” while Ancyra-Ankura-Angora became Enguru-Ankara and Melitene became Malatiyye-Malatya.
We all live in a cosmopolitan and multicultural landscape. But there are some who don’t seem aware of it. They refuse to accept this fact, producing a false impression about former civilizations in their minds. They suppose that history only consists of their own nation, culture, victories, language, etc. The Ottoman palace used words and terms belonging to prior civilizations, for example, the name “Constantinople.” It is now so baffling that some people became flustered and articles that raised hell were penned by columnists when Bono, the vocalist of U2, referred to Istanbul as “Constantinople.”
And witness the nationalistic fervor when comparing the Ottomans with the Byzantines. In fact, this is not peculiar to comparisons of these empires alone. This can also be observed in modern historiography.
Even Americans and Britons, who have extensive historical backgrounds in common, may put forward strikingly opposite ideas in their historical coverage of events — most British historians do not mention the War of 1812, while in the American history of the war, England is mentioned as a country that was not an ally. The parties may discuss historical events in a very different light. The custom of ignoring the common ground between the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires is now being replaced by new approaches and research to this end.
The Byzantine Empire filled the gap resulting from the fall of the Roman Empire, as the second Roman Empire. The Seljuks were born subsequent to the fall of the Arabs. The Ottoman Empire, which was born in the midst of Byzantium in the West and the Seljuks in the East, would reach the borders of the Roman and Arabian empires. It was able to join the East with the West — Christianity and Islam; nomadic and settled life and the great diversity within the political boundaries — far beyond the scope of what the empires of Alexander the Great and Caesar had been able to do: All of this existed under the Ottoman roof for a long time. But later it was not able to adapt itself to the globalized world order.
One of the scholars, Omar El-Khattab, recounted the nature and mission of the state, pointed out, “Those who can be mild without being soft and powerful without being violent can rule.” Or as a king implied to his subjects, “I embedded respect not stained by hate and love not stained by disrespectfulness into their heart.” The combination of these two aforementioned sayings was witnessed in every period, albeit in different proportions during the rule of these two empires.