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Byzantine Architecture
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Byzantine Architecture

The architecture of the Byzantine Empire (4th - 15th century CE) continued its early Roman traditions but architects also added new structures to their already formidable repertoire, notably improved fortification walls and domed churches...
Theodosian Walls
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Theodosian Walls

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 and extended...
Byzantine Government
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Byzantine Government

The government of the Byzantine Empire was headed and dominated by the emperor, but there were many other important officials who assisted in operating the finances, judiciary, military, and bureaucracy of a huge territory. Without elections...
Hagia Sophia
Definition by Thomas Cohen

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, constructed 532-537 CE, continues to be revered as one of the most important structures in the world. Hagia Sophia (Greek Ἁγία Σοφία, for ‘Holy Wisdom') was designed...
Constantine I
Definition by Donald L. Wasson

Constantine I

Constantine I was Roman emperor from 306 to 337 CE. Realizing that the Roman Empire was too large for one man to adequately rule, Emperor Diocletian (284-305 CE) split the empire into two, creating a tetrachy or rule of four. While he ruled...
Empress Theodora
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Empress Theodora

Theodora reigned as empress of the Byzantine Empire alongside her husband, Emperor Justinian I, from 527 CE until her death in 548 CE. Rising from a humble background and overcoming the prejudices of her somewhat disreputable early career...
Basil II
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Basil II

Basil II (aka Basilius II) was the emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 976 to 1025 CE. He became known as the Bulgar-Slayer (Bulgaroktonos) for his exploits in conquering ancient Bulgaria, sweet revenge for his infamous defeat at Trajan’s...
Byzantium
Definition by Donald L. Wasson

Byzantium

The ancient city of Byzantium was founded by Greek colonists from Megara around 657 BCE. According to the historian Tacitus, it was built on the European side of the Strait of Bosporus on the order of the “god of Delphi” who said...
Byzantine Icons
Article by Mark Cartwright

Byzantine Icons

Icons, that is images of holy persons, were an important part of the Byzantine Christian Church from the 3rd century CE onwards. Venerated in churches, public places, and private homes, they were often believed to have protective properties...
Daily Life in the Byzantine Empire
Article by Mark Cartwright

Daily Life in the Byzantine Empire

Daily life in the Byzantine Empire, like almost everywhere else before or since, largely depended on one’s birth and the social circumstances of one's parents. There were some opportunities for advancement based on education, the...