The Byzantine Empire and a Centuries-Old Religious Dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church

Ukraine’s Orthodox Church recently broke off from Russia. This dispute has a history that goes back to medieval Christianity. Introduction A new Orthodox Church was recently established in Ukraine. Shortly after, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople and the spiritual head of global Orthodox Christianity, granted independence to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine and[…]

Ukraine in the Medieval Byzantine Empire

Byzantine influence was pronounced in Ukraine’s religious, political, and cultural spheres. Byzantium was originally a Greek colony, founded ca 660 BC on the European side of the Bosporus. Because of its strategic location between the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea, the colony controlled the traffic between Asia and Europe. The city was completely razed by[…]

The Hippodrome of Constantinople: Sports and Entertainment in Ancient Byzantium

Many important Roman cities had an arena which hosted thrilling chariot races and more for public entertainment. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Hippodrome of Constantinople was an arena used for chariot racing throughout the Byzantine period. First built during the reign of Roman emperor Septimius Severus in the early 3rd century CE, the structure was[…]

Roman and Byzantine Cilicia Campestris

Cilicia Campestris was the most valuable Roman district because of its fertile plains which produced abundant crops. Introduction Cilicia Campestris was one of the six districts of the Roman province of  Cilicia organized by Pompey the Great (l. c. 106-48 BCE) in 64 BCE. The name translates roughly into “Cilicia of the Plains” and corresponds to the earlier name for the[…]

The Theodosian Walls of Ancient Byzantium

The fortifications were the largest and strongest ever built in either the ancient or medieval worlds. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Theodosian Walls are the fortifications of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, which were first built during the reign of Theodosius II (408-450 CE). Sometimes known as the Theodosian Long Walls, they built upon[…]

The Varangian Guard: The Byzantine Emperor’s Secret Service

The Varangians were probably as shocking a sight to Byzantine enemies as tanks would have been to WWI infantry. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The mercenary Varangian Guard was an elite Byzantine army corps and the personal bodyguard of emperors beginning with Basil II in c. 988 CE. The Viking unit was famous for the stature[…]

The Campaign of Asad Bin Alfurat to Conquer Byzantine Sicily

An introduction and prologue for the first campaigns against Sicily and the relations between both Sicily and Byzantines with Aghlabids state. By Dr. Sattam Zuheir AlkhateebDepartment of Basic SciencesMaan CollegeBalqa Applied University Early Islamic Campaigns against Sicily The first attempted invasion against Sicily had occurred during the reign of Mu’awiah bin Abi Sufain in Syria[…]

Pilgrimage in the Byzantine Empire

Well-worn routes resulted along which regular stopping points allowed pilgrims to sleep, eat, and be cared for in a network of monasteries and churches. Introduction Pilgrimage in the Byzantine Empire involved the Christian faithful travelling often huge distances to visit such holy sites as Jerusalem or to see in person relics of holy figures and[…]

The Fall of the Byzantine Empire and Rise of the Renaissance

The Byzantine Empire, is one of the most tragically understudied topics in modern American historical curriculum. By Gabriel Johnson Introduction Not only did Byzantium achieve greater feats of art and science than Rome, they safeguarded (and advanced) for nearly 1,500 years the ancient knowledge of the Greeks and Romans. Combined with exposure to Islamic and[…]

The Sultan of Byzantium: A Byzantine Past Hiding in Plain Sight

The journey begins with a quiet academic living in Istanbul who receives a cryptic message that will change his life. Introduction Istanbul makes an exotic first impression: Boat traffic on the Bosporus sends waves brushing up against the shores of both Europe and Asia as enormous mosques and monuments from previous empires stand guard. The[…]

The Byzantine Empire – A History of Eastern Rome

The name Byzantine Empire is a modern term and would have been alien to its contemporaries, who would have known it as Ῥωμανία Romanía (Imperium Romanorum). Introduction The Byzantine Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. Much of this territory had first fallen to Greek rule[…]

The Differences between Ancient and Medieval Byzantine and Armenian Christianity

The types of Christianity they professed had important differences that led to a lack of recognition and tensions between the two groups. Introduction Although both the Byzantines and the Armenians were Christian, the types of Christianity they professed had important differences that led to a lack of recognition and tensions between the two groups and[…]

The Arch of Constantine and Spolia as Recycled Propaganda

The Arch is a huge conglomerate of imperial Roman sculpture as many parts of it were recycled (spolia) from earlier 1st and 2nd century CE monuments. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Arch of Constantine I, erected in c. 315 CE, stands in Rome and commemorates Roman Emperor Constantine’s victory over the Roman tyrant Maxentius on 28th[…]

Yolanda of Flanders: Latin Woman Potentate of the Byzantine Empire

Examining the influence of family, religion, schooling, class, status, experiences, and social contacts upon the psychological development of Yolanda. Abstract The main purpose of this paper is to construct a personality profile of Yolanda, a Latin woman potentate of the Eastern Roman Empire. The key question the author is addressing is whether or not the[…]

Women in the Byzantine Empire

Although they were the minority, some women did manage to rise above the limitations imposed on them by the male-dominated culture. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Women in the Byzantine Empire (4th to 15th century CE) were, amongst the upper classes, largely expected to supervise the family home and raise children while those who had to[…]

Relations between Late Antique-Early Medieval Armenia and the Byzantine Empire

The relationship between the Byzantine Empire and ancient Armenia was a constant and varied one with an equal mix of wars, occupations, treaties of friendship, mutual military aid, and cultural exchange. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Regarded as a vital defence to the Empire’s eastern frontiers, emperors used various means of influence from outright takeover to gifts[…]

The Strategic Importance of Byzantine Constantinople

Built in the seventh century BCE, the ancient city of Byzantium proved to be a valuable city for both the Greeks and Romans. Introduction Built in the seventh century BCE, the ancient city of Byzantium proved to be a valuable city for both the Greeks and Romans. Because it lay on the European side of the Strait of[…]

Greek Fire: A Byzantine Weapon Lost to the Ages

The weapon ceased to exist by the time the Ottoman Empire finally conquered Constantinople in 1453. September 1, 718. With the clear motivation to defend Constantinople, Byzantine ships filled with anxious soldiers were surrounding the mainland. On the horizon, Arab Muslim forces, bringing with them a fleet of large and robust wooden ships, started to[…]