Byzantine Empire

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Daily Life in the Byzantine Empire
Daily Life in the Byzantine Empire

BYZANTINE EMPIRE, a powerful country of antiquity, with its seat of government at Byzantium, later called Constantinople, on the site of the present day city of Istanbul, Turkey.

The Byzantine empire came into being as a result of the administrative partition of the The Roman Empire in an effort to improve the administration and defense of the empire. After the fall of Rome, the eastern half of the empire, ruled from Byzantium, survived, though its character was more Greek than Roman.

In history the Byzantine Empire is sometimes spoken of as the Eastern, the Lower, the Greek, and the East The Roman Empire. The people and Emperors of the so-called Byzantine Empire did not refer to themselves as Byzantines or to their country as the Byzantine Empire. After the fall of Rome, they continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire, though this empire was not actually ruled from Rome and in fact Rome did not form part of Byzantine territory in the latter part of their 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.

The origin of the empire dates back to the removal of the capital of the The Roman Empire from Rome to Byzantium by Constantine, in 330 A. D.. which city was named Constantinople in his honor. The seat of government was changed partly because the barbaric Germanic tribes were pressing hard against Rome, and because of the spread of Christianity in the East, a consequence following the movement of the Roman influence toward the East.

In its greatest prosperity the Byzantine Empire included Syria, Pontus, and Asia Minor in Asia; Egypt in Africa ; and Macedonia, Crete, Greece, Thrace, and Moesia (now Bulgaria) in Europe. The territory Was successively enlarged and diminished by victory and defeat until the fall of Rome in 476, when its territory was merged into other dominions by reason of the conquests attained by the Huns, Goths, and Vandals.

The first period of the empire proper dates from 395 to 716. The period is distinguished by the reign of several energetic emperors who succeeded in reversing the tide of barbarian invasions. The most significant was the Emperor Emperor Justinian I, who assumed the throne of Byzantium in 527, and with his able general Belisarius oversaw a campaign of imperial reconquest, during which Italy (including Rome) and parts of Africa were liberated from the barbarians and restored to the empire.

Continued ....

Byzantine Soldiers: these heirs of the Roman Empire reconquered most of the territories lost to the barbarians.


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