BYZANTINE ERA

Byzantine Era

 

 

By Byzantine Empire or Byzantium, we refer to, the Christian Roman Empire of the East as heir of the geographical area of ​​the Roman Empire, with time limits start at the official opening of Constantinople on May 11, 330 (or the foundation on November 8, 324) and reach the final fall, i.e. the fall of the Turks, on May 29, 1453.

 

In reality, of course, within the extended time limits life of the Byzantine Empire, often changed the borders and state enemies, and these factors have helped to change the political and national character of the empire.

 

Thus, from the Roman Empire, was born in "Christianized Roman Empire of the East" with special concern the reconstitution of the Roman Empire, on the dynasty of Heraklion transformed in "Hellenized empire of the Christian East" and finally, particularly from 1204 onwards the conquest of Istanbul / Constantinople by the Latins, was born the "Greek Byzantine Empire." In the latter period, strongly revived the memory of Greek past, while the fall of Constantinople and Latin Domination, contributed to the birth of Greek patriotism and ideas that ultimately led to the restoration of the new Greece in the nineteenth century.

 

A new state was born

With the crisis in the Roman Empire in all sectors and weak governance of a vast state, Diocletian assumes power in 285 AD and will split the Roman state into a Western and an Eastern Empire, governed each by a different Emperor. The fact that he would resign in 305 AD will cause significant events that will be decisive for the final decline of Rome and the development of a top Culture which this time will absolutely bring Greek stamp and will stay alive until 1453 AD.

Diocletian will create the "Tetrarchy" in 293 AD but after the Roman Empire split into two parts in 286 AD. So as Augustus were appointed to: Diocletian who chose to keep the eastern part, Maximian to be placed in the western part and as Caesars placed Galerius in the East and Constantius A. Chloros in the west. In 305 AD Diocletian resigned and tried to convince Maximian to do the same. So Caesars became as Augustus accordingly.

Galerius chose two new Caesars. Despite the fact that Constantine, son of Constantius A and Helen waited title, Galerius selected the two other Maximinus Daia in the East and Severus to west. Then Constantine went to meet with his father and together they moved into a victorious campaign which had been win the trust of Augustus in the West and his father Constantius. When Constantius died, Constantine declared by the legions as Augustus, at the same moment Maxentius the son of Maximian ( the former Augustus) in Rome finally got the title of Augustus and withdraw his father as co-emperor. Licinius also, took the title of Augustus in the East. Around the same period, Maximinus and Severus entitled as Augustus. Now Constantine has to face not only one, but six emperors.

Constantine tried to resemble the emperors Maximian and Maxentius and when he divorced his first wife, and married Fausta, who was the daughter of Maximian and sister of Maxentius. He did that because, Galerius did not recognize him despite marriage. Among Augusti erupted a civil war with many casualties. Severus, had the first losses as he would only managed to be Emperor, only in 306 and 307 AD where he was executed or forced to commit suicide. Maxentius ordered this death, whose father will be the second to be lost position and the first to come up against Constantine. At the beginning Diocletian forced Maximian to resign for the second time. While Constantine welcome Maximian, he proclaimed himself emperor in a fraudulent manner, and later tried to assassinate him. In all cases, Fausta saved Constantine and Maximian killed himself (310 AD). At the end Maximian has managed to be Augustus 2 times from 285 until 305 AD and 306-307 AD .

The end of Galerius. who was known for their persecutions against the Christians, and therefore he did not recognize the Constantine, came in 311 AD as he become ill from an incurable illness. Therefore, stayed alive three people except of Constantine, Maximinus, the Maxentius and Licinius. Maxentius considered as an enemy of Licinius, however, was the fourth that would killed and the second to be faced Constantine. This was be the battle of the Milvian Bridge in which it occurs the Great Historical fact. Constantine was not a Christian until the moment he saw in the sky to be formatted a Cross and the inscription "In this you win." On 28 October 312 AD Constantine faced Maxentius and his army and managed to decimate them. Maxentius indeed, drown in the river Tiber and because of this fact Constantine will be henceforth as the sole Emperor (Augustus) of West. That event also marks the Conversion of Constantine that from now and then to become as a Christian!

Currently Constantine is Augustus in the West and Licinius is Augustus in the East. This fact made Licinius to continually seeked for opportunities to face Constantine. However, before the death of Maximinus we have a historical  decree called "Edict of Milan". Constantine and Licinius signed for religious tolerance and freedom, therefore from now and then Christians are free!

After that Constantine himself protected Christians in contrast to the movements of Licinius. The Licinius now did not meet the agreement and started again persecutions that cause anger to Constantine who, after uprisings invaded the eastern Roman Empire! This will be considered as a violation so the war broke out in 324 AD. Constantine chased and beat several times Licinius and finally let him live, thanks to his second wife and sister of  Constantine -Constantia-. But he  sentenced him to death as prevailing rumors agreements Licinius to regain the throne.

Constantine was then the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. In 324 AD founded the Constantinople and because of that fact, the New Golden Age officially started. Within that Greece will star will thrive and will be able once again to build a culture of international renown!

 

“In 324 AD starts the Byzantine Empire!”

 

The Byzantine Years

At the First Ecumenical Council in 325 AD St. Helen will learn about the situation in the Holy Land and the next year will depart for Jerusalem. Within that time, she will manage to find the Holy Cross under the Temple of Aphrodite that was located on Calvary. According to tradition, the Saint will be led there by the basil that grew only in this part! Also along with the Cross of  Jesus Christ, will find both crosses  belonged to bandits who were crucified with Him. To solve the mystery of who is Christ’s cross, will put them over the lifeless body of a woman who just will touch his cross will rise again. Helen on this trip will build and the Church of the Resurrection a great work that has remained until the present day.

In 330 AD Constantinople (Istanbul) will be launched officially as the capital of the Roman Empire. With this move locks permanently and the birth of the Byzantine Empire which feature emblem is the double-headed eagle, emblem will probably adopted many years after Constantine and Helen.

We must say that both Saints -Constantine and Helen- were not Greek. Specifically Constantius (father of Constantine) was Roman and St. Helen was from Bithynia. However, their offer was great. From a St Helen's work especially in Jerusalem managed something very important and that was the dissemination and preservation of Greek culture and also St. Constantine and created Byzantium, a culture that would soon be Greek and would be able to rise to the top. Both put their sign on the history of Greece and are part of this.

In 395 AD Empire will finally divided into east and west. Western thereafter will begin to decline until 476 AD that had the final drop. At the same time we will have sharp edge in the eastern part of the Empire.

Between 483 and 565 AD will live Justinian the First, a person who will succeed as emperor with enough effort to bring prosperity to the arts and culture.

In 529 AD indeed, we will have another major shift in Athens. The Parthenon was dedicated to Athena Goddess will now be dedicated to the Virgin of Christianity, Mary. For this purpose the Parthenon will worshiped as Panagia Athiniotissa.

Between the 4th and 7th century AD the empire will get more and more Greek features. Thus it can be launched as a basis as an Eastern Roman Empire in the Early Byzantine period but will be able to commit all necessary Greek elements that after the 7th century AD get along in what evolved and was really a Greek Empire. During the 7th century AD even official language of the Empire would become the Greek locking so somehow the true identity of Byzantium. Until then, the Emperors spoke Latin and Greek were not necessarily origin, but after the 7th century Greek consciousness created and emperors are mostly Greeks! So this is a Great Greek Culture.

In 610-641 AD Persians would besiege Constantinople, in the same period that Heraclius himself, had campaigned against them. Finally they managed to repel them so miraculous, so the People sang all night Hymn to the Theotokos. So it came as ceremonial as not to forget this miraculous event. The Greeks in Byzantium found what they had lost during the Roman Empire. As managed to create, based on their religion so now will be able to create drawing on Christianity. So we will make the Religion and art will be able to create memorable works of Religious up the famous Byzantine Music.

The 815 until 885 AD will live the Greek origin Cyril and Methodius. Those born in the capital of Macedonia, Thessaloniki. Their work will be invaluable and will manage up to the present day to show the quality of Greek civilization. For the Christianization of the Slavs would make a new alphabet based on the Greek. In this new language will translate books and will be able to enlighten the Slavic people. Even themselves will be blamed as Christianity allowed preached only in Greek, Hebrew and Latin. They then responded that every people has the right to glorify God in their own language. With this move will win the battle and will prove once again the superiority of Greek culture!

A few years later (958 AD), born Basil II who will be named Bulgar. Basil would become the Byzantine Empire in 976 AD and managed to put brakes to the Bulgarians that after the uprising that will do to manage to get the throne, will make great massacres and looting across Greece. In that battle, Basil in 1014 AD will end in all Bulgarian desires as he destroyed the whole army and the prisoners that will capture will blind them apart from 1 in 100 to the left-eyed to lead others in their leader Samuel. It is worth noting that Basil after the battle of “Kleidi” will arrive in Athens and will worship Panagia Athiniotissa the Parthenon.

Another important fact is the Christianization of Russian made by the Greeks through Byzantium. Basil himself will give to Prince Vladimir's sister Anna and the prince himself would baptized Christian! This will result to introduce Christianity in Russia corollary to baptized the Russian people! The Christianization of the Russians had begun the previous years to highlight the Baptism of the Russian Lady Olga. Basil after many battles in 1025 AD will reach its end of life.

In 1204 AD, 150 years after the Schism, Constantinople -Istanbul-  will fall to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade. At first they themselves would want to regain the Holy Land but finally the Crusaders would never face the Ottomans but will come to fight with Orthodox Christians and it happened for the simple fact that the reasons were purely economic Crusade! Essentially it will have to set up 4 new Member / Kingdoms Latin Empire that is not Greek and Greek kingdoms Nice, Trabzon and the Despotate of Epirus. The end of the Latin Empire will be quick as the Empire of Nice will recapture Constantinople in 1261 AD .

From then Byzantium will appear again for the next 200 years, at the end of which will come the final drop. However the recovered Byzantine Empire after the fall of Constantinople to the Franks will be significantly smaller in size as there will be few new "states" that would have been created and will not be reintegrated. Within these and the Greek Kingdom of Trebizond and the Despotate of Epirus. Either way, however, the success of the Emperor Michael was great as failed after a series of actions to make the reconstitution of the Byzantine Empire and stop the action of the Latin Emperor who dreamed of a new Latin Empire. Michael H, is a historical person as is also the founder of the Palaiologos dynasty, the last for Byzantium.

A year later in 1262 AD will create the Despotate of Mystras (Morea). Generally it is a period of great upheaval in the Greek area will be the result of temporary dip even of some 60 years of Byzantium. The Despotate of Mystras will develop into an important Greek Core resulting in a unique part of the history of Hellenism. The next few years in Byzantium will reign the dynasty of Palaiologoi. Travelling in Thessaloniki just before the fall of Byzantium will find the "birth" of the White Tower, which will built in place of old tower. The building remains unknown when exactly was the most likely to become the 15th to 16th century AD. It was a fortification, but will serve as a prison by the Ottomans and renamed "Tower of Blood / Red Tower" by the fact that was death row prison and torture walls constantly filled with blood.

 

 

The Fall of Constantinople

In 1404 a person that is expected to stay in world history, was born. The reason for Constantine K. Palaiologos who will be the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire. He will live and fall within Constantinople as a genuine Greek, to be remembered as one of the greatest Greek heroes who gave birth to our country.

He will ascend to the imperial throne in 1449 AD and will try with all his strength to keep the Byzantine Empire, and this brilliant Greek culture alive. But from the first days will ascend the throne will see that Istanbul is in great danger which will become more noticeable with the rise of Mehmet II. From the first moment Constantine will reorganize the army, will make and strengthen the fortifications and request aid from the West to be completely indifferent. The Byzantine Greeks are not alone, with the help they received from the rest of Greece. The beginning of the end has come on May 28, 1453 AD when Muhammad will decide the final assault against the city!

With the fall of Constantinople comes to an end of a famous Greek culture and an equally famous period, the Byzantine Period. Istanbul will be able to stay in the memory of the Greeks and realize their means or through legends, prophecies or traditions they want to be back and definitely Greek. With the fall of Byzantium and starts to Greece a black period, a time when the Greeks will be found under the Turkish rule. Through this period the Greeks will manage to show heroism and their superiority. But still remains the fact that the period of Ottoman rule is one of the worst in Greek history.

 

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