How strong was the Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Empire

This mosaic shows Emperor Justinian in the middle. The picture dates from 547 AD. After this emperor, the Byzantine Empire only got smaller.

The Byzantine Empire existed in the Middle Ages. It was the eastern half of the former Roman Empire. That is why it was also called Eastern Rome or the Eastern Roman Empire. The capital Byzantium was also called Constantinople, today it is the Turkish city of Istanbul.

In the Roman Empire there had been several emperors at the same time several times. They ruled individual parts of the huge empire. In 395 an emperor died for all of Rome: one son received the east, the other the west. Over time, the halves became more different. The western empire ended about 100 years later.

The Eastern Roman Empire was roughly where Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey are today. Sometimes the Byzantine emperors conquered a lot of land, including Italy and North Africa, and sometimes they lost it. In 1453 it was over: the Ottoman Empire conquered the last piece of East Rome, namely Constantinople.

While the West spoke Latin, in the East the main language was Greek. For a long time the inhabitants called themselves "Romans". There was often a dispute with the new empires in Western Europe about who was the right successor to the Roman emperors. The German King Otto the Second married a princess from Byzantium, Theophanu. He wanted to emphasize how important he was.

  • Soldier equipment from the Byzantine Empire, imitation

  • Zoe the purple-born was Empress of Byzantium around the year 1000

  • Mary with the baby Jesus, an icon from around 1400

  • A cathedral in St. Petersburg in Russia: The model was from Byzantium.

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