Byzantine Empire Map
Byzantine Empire Map, Facts and Achievements
Historians have different views about the founding year of the Byzantine Empire. First of all, let me point out that “Byzantine” is actually a name that was later added by historians. Its original name was the Eastern Roman Empire, and it was the only state to inherit the ancient Roman Empire after the fall of Western Rome. Now let’s bring this up.
Roman Republic and Empire
The Roman Empire was originally a city-state from the city of Rome. Over time it spread all over Italy. In the early period, Rome was ruled by a senate of elites. Consuls were appointed by the senate to direct military expeditions.
This long-running electoral council began to shake since the reign of Julius Caesar. The assassination of Julius Caesar by members of the senate is also a reaction to his attempt to gather power in one hand. However, even the senators’ murder of a promising leader like Caesar could not prevent the establishment of the empire. Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son, declared himself emperor under the name of Augustus.
Having seized all the Mediterranean coasts during the reign of Augustus and his successors, Rome faced a political crisis in 235. During a period of nearly 50 years of chaos, the emperors toppled one after another and the power was shared among the soldiers. It was the emperor Diocletian who ended this period of chaos.
Constantine the Great
Diocletian brought Rome to life with military, political and economic reforms. Although the Tetrarchy system he brought was paralyzed after a while, the chain of events triggered by the Tetrarchy ended well. Many years later, the administration gathered in one hand and Constantine the Great ascended the throne.
Foundation of Constantinople
Constantine the Great was the most visionary man who became emperor to Rome many years later. Constantine saw that the ancient capital of Rome had lost its strategic importance and wanted to move the center of the empire to the more productive Eastern provinces.
In the east of Rome, the most important Roman bases of that period were Sirmium, Nicomedia, Antioch. But Constantine did something to surprise everyone and chose Istanbul, then known as Byzantium.
Thousands of architects, engineers and artists have turned Byzantium, a small town, into a Roman capital. Istanbul was equipped with Roman administrative structures and a Hippodrome was built for the races. The period of transition from paganism to Christianity was still continuing. Constantine intended to make this new city one of the world’s largest centers of Christianity. The city was called New Rome. Indeed, it was very similar to Rome in all aspects.
Over time, the city became known as Constantinople, dedicated to Constantine. Without the Emperor Constantine, Istanbul would have remained a fishing town and would never have become a world-class city.
Byzantine Empire Facts
When Byzantine Empire Started?
As stated in the introduction, the foundation of the Byzantine Empire is based on different dates. According to some historians, the Byzantine Empire began symbolically with the relocation of Constantine from Rome to Istanbul.
However, it is worth noting that this is not technically the case. Because Constantine was a Roman emperor of Latin origin. The evolution of Eastern Rome into Greek culture is something that has taken place over many years.
Division of Roman Empire
Theodosios was the first emperor to be called “Great” after Constantine. About 50 years after Constantine, Theodosios ascended the throne at a time when the empire was in chaos. The empire, which was besieged by Goths, Germanic tribes and Persians, was about to collapse due to incompetent rulers. Theodosios, the son of a famous general, was rushed to the throne like a savior. He has done more than expected.
But when Theodosios died unexpectedly when he was in his 40s, Rome was divided into two. his younger son Honorius became the emperor of Western Rome, and his eldest son Arcadius became the emperor of Eastern Rome. Two barbarian generals were appointed regents. Stilicho, the regent of the Western Roman emperor, performed well and postponed the inevitable collapse of Western Rome.
Eastern Roman Empire started in 395 AD
Fall of Westen Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire collapsed with the unjust execution of Stilicho. Unable to stop the increasing barbarian attacks, Western Roman emperors eventually lost their capital to the Goths. The city of Rome was looted and seized. Although the Emperor continued to exist in Ravenna in northern Italy for a while, it soon became history.
Byzantine Empire Achievements
With the collapse of Western Rome, the legacy of Rome remained in the Eastern Roman Empire, now known as the Byzantine Empire.
The Byzantine Empire reached its peak during the reign of Emperor Justinian. So much so that they have recaptured the ancient capital of Rome and much of the former western Roman territory.
These happy days didn’t last long. Because the boundaries became too large and unprotected. The Germenic tribes and Goths slowly but steadily recaptured Byzantine territory in Western Europe. After the death of Justinian, Eastern Rome entered into a great turmoil.
By the 7th century, the Byzantine Empire was under attack by the Arabs, Slavs and Avars. the crisis was temporarily halted by the Emperor Heraclius. However, the decline of the Byzantine Empire continued. Seljuk Turks in the 11th century, the Sack of Constantinople in the 13th century and the Ottoman expansion in the 15th century prepared the collapse of the Byzantine Empire.
The fact that the Byzantine Empire managed to survive from 395 when Rome was divided into two and 1453 when Constantinople fell was one of the important events of history. John Julius Norwich, who wrote Byzantine history, could only fit Byzantine history into three volumes.
Byzantine Empire Map
Why is the Eastern Roman Empire called Byzantine
Historians renamed the Eastern Roman Empire as the Byzantine Empire in the modern era. It was due to the evolution of the Eastern Roma into the Greek culture over time.
This process of Helenization, which started when Constantine moved to Istanbul, was completed only in the 7th century. Military ranks, the last tradition left from Rome at that time, were also translated into Greek. Byzantine emperors were called the Greek term Basileus.
Another reason for renaming is the cultural difference between the pagan Roman Empire of ancient times and the Christian Roman Empire of the middle ages. In order to make this distinction, modern historians named the Eastern Roman Empire from the city of Byzantium.