Byzantion ve “Bizans İmparatorluğu”

CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı


Byzantion and “Byzantine Empire”

  📹 Roman Empire (395-1453)

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Roman Empire, 395-1453.


📹 The History of Anatolia, 395-1453 / Every Year (VİDEO)

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  Constantine the Great (272-337 AD)

— Hıristiyanlığa dönen ilk Roma İmparatoru idi;
— Bizantium’da yeni bir saray yaptırdı ve kentin adını Konstantinopolis olarak değiştirdi;

— Yunan harflerini kabul etti.


Roman Emperor Constantine Statue in York, England.

Konstantin Hıristiyanlığa döndüğü zaman ortada henüz kavranması gereken belirgin bir Hıristiyan öğreti bulunmuyor, insanlar dinsel bir türlülük ortamında imgelemlerinde yarattıkları boşinanç nesnelerine tapınmayı sürdürüyorlardı. Hıristiyanlık daha sonraki yüzyıllarda Doğu Roma topraklarında “Ortodoks Hıristiyanlık” olarak bir tür putperest inanç biçimine indirgendi ve başlıca Slav tini tarafından kabul edildi. Batıda ise papalık tarafından ve ‘Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu’ denilen feodal bir kültür tarafından dünyasal bir araç olarak kullanılmaya uyarlandı ve tanrısal bir yetke üstlenen bütünüyle dünyasal Roma Katolik Kilisesi karakteri altında Avrupa’da Karanlık Orta Çağlar denilen 1000 yıllık yeni bir dönemin inanç biçimi oldu. Ancak Reformasyon zamanında ve ancak Avrupa’nın kuzey ülkelerinde insanlığın küçük bir kesimi kurumsal kilisenin pençesinden kurtulmayı başardı, duyunç özgürlüğünü kazandı, ve modern kültürü yaratma ve kürenin öykünülecek modeli olma sürecine girdi.

Constantine the Great

Constantine the Great (272-337 AD) (306-337 AD) (W)

The Roman Empire in 337, showing Constantine's conquests in Dacia across the lower Danube (shaded purple) and other Roman dependencies (light purple).




Dedicated by the senate and people of Rome to commemorate the victories of the first Christian emperor, to do which they took reliefs from the Arch of Trajan, and built them into an attic which they erected upon the top of the Arch of Isis, re-dedicating the conglomeration as the Triumphal Arch of Constantine. The reliefs which refer to Trajan can be easily distinguished from those of Constantine (which are very bad) owing to their superior style and the subjects represented.

The designs commence, on the left side, with the triumphal entrance of Trajan by the Porta Capena, after the first Dacian war; then, secondly, commemorate his services in carrying the Appian Way through the Pontine Marshes; thirdly, founding an asylum for orphan children; fourthly, his relations with Parthamasiris, king of Armenia. On the opposite side, dedication of the aqueduct built by Trajan (seen on the left); secondly, audience with the Dacian king Decebalus, whose hired assassins are brought before him; thirdly, with a representation of the emperor haranguing his soldiers; and, fourthly, the emperor offering the suovetaurilia sacrifice of a boar, ram, and bull.

Corresponding with these reliefs, two medallions, representing the private life of the emperor in simple and graceful compositions, are introduced over each of the side arches. The first represents his starting for the chase; the second, a sacrifice to Silvanus, the patron of silvan sports; the third displays the emperor on horseback at a bear-hunt; and the fourth a thank-offering to the goddess of hunting. On the side facing the Colosseum, a bear-hunt, a sacrifice to Apollo, a group contemplating a dead lion, and lastly a consultation of an oracle. Most of these refer to Trajan; we think some refer to Hadrian, because on one of them Antinoüs is represented. On the inside of the arch is a battle-piece, assigned to Constantine by the inscriptions, "To the founder of peace," "To the deliverer of the city." They are older than his time. Over the side arches are some narrow reliefs referring to Constantine, one of which is peculiarly interesting, as it represents that emperor addressing the people from the Rostra ad Palmam, with some of the principal monuments in the Forum in the background.


Colossal head of Constantine (4th century), Capitoline museum, Rome.

Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Μέγας; 27 February c. 272 AD – 22 May 337 AD), also known as Constantine I, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between 306 and 337 AD. Born in Naissus, in Dacia Ripensis, town now known as Niš (Serbian Cyrillic: Ниш, located in Serbia), he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer. His mother was Empress Helena. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father's death in 306 AD. He emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.

As emperor, Constantine enacted administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. He restructured the government, separating civil and military authorities. To combat inflation he introduced the solidus, a new gold coin that became the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers — the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians— even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century.

Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Although he lived much of his life as a pagan, and later as a catechumen, he joined the Christian faith on his deathbed, being baptised by Eusebius of Nicomedia. He played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which declared religious tolerance for Christianity in the Roman empire. He called the First Council of Nicaeain 325, which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem and became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the forged Donation of Constantine. He has historically been referred to as the “First Christian Emperor,” and he did heavily promote the Christian Church. Some modern scholars, however, debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of the Christian faith itself.

The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople (now Istanbul) after himself (the laudatory epithet of "New Rome" came later, and was never an official title). It became the capital of the Empire for more than a thousand years, with the later eastern Roman Empire now being referred to as the Byzantine Empire by historians.

His more immediate political legacy was that he replaced Diocletian's tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession by leaving the empire to his sons. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and for centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign, due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Trends in modern and recent scholarship have attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship.

The empire was split between four unequal rulers to enable the easier governance of the immense territories under their control.

The Tetrarchate, established by Diocletian, served to regain some order and control of the enormous Roman Empire. However it also splintered it, forming a dissolution of identity within a single authority.

Upon their simultaneous abdication of their territories in 305 AD, Diocletian and Maximian handed the rule of East and West to their caesars (lesser rulers). The new Tetrarchy consisted of Galerius as the senior Emperor in this system, taking over Diocletian’s position in the East, and Constantius, who took control of the West. Under them Severus ruled as Constantius’ caesar and Maximinus, Maximian’s son, was caeser to Galerius.


“Emperor Constantine’s reign (from 324 CE to 337 CE) is accepted as the start of the ‘Byzantine’ {!} Empire.”

Bu grotesk hipoteze göre Britanya, Galya, Hispanya, Afrika Roma İmparatorluğunun değil, “Bizans” İmparatorluğunun toprakları arasında olacaktır. Yine, “Bizans İmparatorluğu” “Büyük Bölünme”den önce varolacak ve Latin Batı ve Helenik Doğu ayrımını önceleyecektir.


Başka bir deyişle —


“Bizans İmparatorluğu”nun dilinin Yunanca ve inancının Ortodoks Hıristiyanlık olması gerekir. Ama bu pop hipoteze göre, “Bizans İmparatorluğu”nun ne dili Yunanca, ne de dini Ortodoks Hıristiyanlık olacaktır.


Çünkü bu pop hipotezin terminolojisinde —

“Bizans İmparatorluğu” ortadan kaldırıldıktan 100 yıl sonra ortaya çıkmıştır.


Konstantin yalnızca İmparatorluğun başkentinin yerini değiştirdi (330) ve Roma İmparatorluğu 1453’e dek “Roma İmparatorluğu” olarak sürdü.


Roma İmparatorluğunun tarihsel sürekliliğini tanımayan “Bizans İmparatorluğu” terimi başlıca “Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu” denilen bir Germanik feodal prenslikler konfederasyonuna saygınlık kazandırmak için etnik Germanik tarihçiler tarafından uyduruldu ve pozitivist tarihçilik tarafından bir “realite” yapıldı. Romalılar gibi Osmanlılar da ‘Bizans’ adını hiçbir zaman kullanmadılar ve Konstantinopolis’in fethinden sonra Osmanlı İmpararatorluğunun kendisinin başkenti “Konstantiniyye” oldu.


Daha sonra, 1547’de, Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Edirne Ateşkesinde sözde Kutsal Roma İmparatoru olan ‘İspanya Kralı’ V. Karl ile ‘Roma İmparatoru’ Süleyman olarak anlaşma imzaladı. Batıdaki barbar Germenlerin tersine, Doğuda Osmanlılar Roma İmparatorluğu ile bütünüyle yapıcı ve sağaltıcı ilişkiler içinde idiler. Birinciler İmparatorluğun Batısını harabeye çevirdiler. İkinciler bütün bir Avrupa’nın Germanik hordalar tarafından barbarlaştırıldığı bir dönemde Roma İmparatorluğundan kalıt alınan uygarlık alanında Batıda bütünüyle yok edilen moral ve etik yaşam biçimini sürdürdüler.


Germanik Orta Çağlar sözde ‘Karolen Rönesansı’ ve benzerlerine karşın, ‘Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu’ gibi bir sanal devlete karşın her nedense ‘Karanlık Çağlar’ olarak da bilinir. Dönem insanlığı sefilleştiren feodalizm ile tanımlanır. Pogromlar ve kitle kıyımları olarak başlayan haçlı seferleri ile tanımlanır. Engizisyon ve papalık gibi en son kutsallık kırıntısını da yok eden kurumları ile Roma Katolik Kilisesi tarafından tanımlanır. Çünkü bu dönemde —

  • Feodalizm hakkın ve yasa egemenliğinin yerini güç ile değiştirmiştir.
  • Roma Katolik Kilisesi insan duyuncunu pençelerine almış ve bir moral düşüklük kültürü yaratmıştır.
  • Böyle temeller üzerine kurulan Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu etik-politik yaşamın yokluğunu temsil ediyordu.


Böyle belirlenen kültür Avrupa kültürünün şekillenmesinde Roma tininin ‘etkisinden’ çok daha ‘etkili’ oldu. Aslında, modern Avrupa tini tam olarak bu grotesk Orta Çağlar kültürüne tepki olarak doğdu ve Klasik Tin ancak insan duyuncunu özgürleştiren Reformasyonu izleyen yüzyıllar içinde Kuzey Avrupa halkları tarafından ancak yavaş yavaş tanınmaya ve anlaşılmaya başladı. Duyunç hamlığı doğallıkla Luther’in tezleri ile dolaysızca ortadan kalkmadı ve kendini modern dönemin üstesinde gelmesi gereken moral gerilikte sürekli olarak sergiledi: Marxizm ve Nazizm olarak insanlık için gözdağı oldu; yalancı bir ‘liberalizm’ temeline dayalı sömürgecilik, kölecilik ve ırkçılık olarak, güneşin batmasına izin vermeyen egemenlik alanları yarattı; “imparatorluk” niteliğini taşımayan küresel güçleri ile küresel sefaletin başlıca yaratıcısı oldu; ve ‘yararcı etik’ ve legal pozitivizm olarak Avrupa ülkelerinin kendi etik-dışı varoluşlarının üstünü örtmeye yaradı. 20’inci yüzyılın Dünya Savaşları, toplama kampları, benzeri görülmemiş kitle kıyımları “Batı uygarlığı” teriminin kendisini bir oxymorona çevirdi.


Roma tini Pax Romana olarak bir imparatorlukta etik yaşamın kazanabileceği en yüksek toplumsal ve politik biçime erişti. Germanik tin çevresinde şekillenen Batı tini (ki Almanya, İngiltere ve Fransa tarafından temsil edilir) bugün de Roma uygarlığına olmaktan çok Orta Çağlara bağlılığında ve bu karanlık dönemi uygarlık süreklisinde bir evre olarak görmeyi sürdürmede diretmektedir.


Roma’nın kalıtı feodalizm ve Charlemagne, Karanlık Orta Çağlar ve engizisyon, papalık ve haçlı seferleri değildi. Roma yalnızca bir kölelik ve savaş ve boşinanç kültüründen daha çoğu idi. Roma tini mimarisinde ve güzel sanatlarında, yasa egemenliğinde ve kentliliğinde, ve hoşgörüsünde ve barışında uygardı. İmparatorluğun gerçek karakteri ile karşılaştırma içinde, barbar Germanik tin Roma tini ile süreklilik içinde değildir. Roma tüm uyruklarına yurttaşlık haklarını tanıdı. İnsan özgürlüğünü ve eşitliğini ilkesi olarak alan bir inanç biçimi yarattı. Felsefede, bilimlerde ve güzel sanatlarda Helenik tinin bir adım bile ilerisine gidememesine karşın, insanlığa yasa egemenliğinin özgürlüğün tözü ve etik yaşamın ereği olduğunu gösterdi.


Batı ancak Avrupa’nın bir bölümünü ‘Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu’ndan ve onun bağlaşığı olan Roma Katolik Kilisesinden kurtaran Reformasyon yoluyla modernleşme sürecine girdi ve moral ve etik olarak ağır ağır büyümeye başladı.


Osmanlı tini tıpkı kalıt aldığı Roma İmparatorluk tini gibi çoktandır demode idi ve modernleşmeye bütünüyle isteksiz ve yeteneksiz arkaik bir nüfusun özünlü istençsizliği içinde çözülmek ve dağılmak zorundaydı. Batı özgürlüğü öğrenirken ve önce kendinin ve sonra dünyanın egemeni olurken, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu tüm reform ve devrim çabalarına karşın, modern Cumhuriyeti üretmesine karşın, imparatorluğun ümmeti egemen ulusa gelişmeyi yadsımada ve despotik geleneklerine sarılmada diretti.

“The Baptism of Constantine,” as imagined by students of Raphael. (W)

📹 Roman Empire and Christianity — Khan Academy (VİDEO)

Roman Empire and Christianity — Khan Academy (LINK)

Overview of the changing relationship between the Roman Empire and Christianity from the time of Jesus to the reign of Theodosius.


📹 The rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire (VİDEO)

📹 The rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire - Leonora Neville (LINK)



Römisches reich zur zeit Constantin’s des grossen / G. Heck, dirt.; R. Schmidt sculp (L)


About this Item


Römisches reich zur zeit Constantin's des grossen / G. Heck, dirt. ; R. Schmidt sculp.

Map of the Roman Empire under Constantine the Great.

Created / Published
New York : published by Rudolph Garrigue, 1851.

Subject Headings
- Europe--300-340

Format Headings
Book illustrations--1850-1860.

- Illus. in: Iconographic encyclopaedia of science, literature, and art / Johann G. Heck. New York : Published by Rudolph Garrigue, 1851, vol. 1, division 3, pl. 10.

1 print : engraving.

Call Number/Physical Location
Illus. in AE27.H43, vol. 1 (Case X) [P&P]


Digital Id
cph 3c15364 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c15364

Library of Congress Control Number

Reproduction Number
LC-USZ62-115364 (b&w film copy neg.)

Rights Advisory
No known restrictions on publication.


Online Format

Description 1 print : engraving. | Map of the Roman Empire under Constantine the Great.

LCCN Permalink

Additional Metadata Formats
MODS Record
Dublin Core Record



  Julian, the last pagan ruler of the Roman Empire (331-363) (361-363)
A persistent enemy of Christianity


  • Roman emperor from AD 361 to 363
  • The last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire
  • Nphew of Constantine the Great
  • Studied at Pergamum, at Ephesus, and later at Athens
  • A notable philosopher and author in Greek
  • His deep love of Hellenic culture ...
  • Accepted the creation of humanity as described in Plato’s Timaeus



Julian, byname Julian the Apostate, Latin Julianus Apostata, original name Flavius Claudius Julianus, (born AD 331/332, Constantinople—died June 26/27, 363, Ctesiphon, Mesopotamia),  Roman emperor from AD 361 to 363, nephew of Constantine the Great, and noted scholar and military leader who was proclaimed emperor by his troops. A persistent enemy of Christianity, he publicly announced his conversion to paganism in 361, thus acquiring the epithet “the Apostate.”

Early Life

Julian was a younger son of Julius Constantius, the half brother of Constantine I (the Great), and his second wife, Basilina. In 337, when Julian was five, his cousin (the third son of Constantine I), also called Constantius, became emperor in the East as  Constantius II and in 350, with the death of his brother Constans I, sole legitimate emperor (though there were two usurpers who were not overthrown until 353). The army, determined to have none but Constantine I’s sons as his successors, murdered the other possible aspirants. Constantius II had had Julian’s father killed in or just after 337, and an elder brother of Julian was killed in 341. Basilina had died soon after the birth of Julian, who was thus early left an orphan. With his surviving half brother,  Gallus, seven years his senior, he was brought up in obscurity, first by  Eusebius, Arian bishop of Nicomedia in Bithynia, and later at the remote estate of Macellum in Cappadocia. By the patronage of Eusebia, wife of Constantius II, Julian, at age 19, was allowed to continue his education, first at Como and later in Greece. In 351 he converted to the pagan Neoplatonism, recently “reformed” by Iamblichus, and was initiated into theurgy by Maximus of Ephesus.

His physical appearance is described thus by his contemporary and comrade-in-arms, Ammianus Marcellinus:

“He was of medium stature, his hair was soft, as if it had been combed, his beard rough and pointed. His eyes were fine and flashing, an indication of the nimbleness of his mind. He had handsome eyebrows, a straight nose, rather a large mouth with a drooping lower lip. His neck was thick and slightly bent, his shoulders broad and big. From top to toe he was well-knit, and so was strong and a good runner.”

His statue in the Louvre generally confirms this description, showing him as a stocky, rather diffident-looking philosopher.

Julian’s freedom as a student had a powerful influence on him and ensured that for the first time in a century the future emperor would be a man of culture. He . He adopted the cult of the Unconquered Sun.

That his literary talent was considerable is demonstrated in his surviving works, most of which illustrate his deep love of Hellenic culture. Julian had been baptized and raised as a Christian, but, although he outwardly conformed until he was supreme, Christianity in its official guise meant to him the religion of those who had murdered his father, his brother, and many of his relations and, as such, was hardly likely to commend itself to him. He found far more solace in his philosophic speculations. This reaction has sometimes been defended as natural but eccentric. Natural it certainly was, but it is a misinterpretation of the age to imagine that Julian was alone in preferring Hellenism to Christianity. Society, and particularly the educated society in which Julian was at home, was in fact still largely if not predominantly pagan. Even bishops were proud of their Greek culture; no one was proud of the exotic degeneracy and extravagance of the court of Constantius. It is not surprising that Julian’s austerity, chastity, and enthusiasm for the heritage of Greece found a sympathetic response among many of his cousin’s subjects.

Rise To Supremacy

In 351 Constantius II, perturbed by the death of his brother Constans and subsequent disorders in the West, appointed Gallus as his caesar; that is, as his coadjutor and eventual successor. Gallus was a failure and was executed near Pola (now Pula, Croatia) in 354. Constantius, again in need of a caesar of his own house, after much hesitation summoned Julian from Greece, whence the latter arrived “still wearing his student’s gown.” On November 6, 355, at the age of 23, he was duly proclaimed and invested as caesar, an honour which he accepted with justifiable foreboding. The emperor gave Julian his sister Helena as wife. She died after five years of marriage—the fate of their issue, if any, is unknown. Julian was at once dispatched to Gaul, where he proved a resolute and successful commander. He defeated and expelled the Alemanni and the Franks, feats that aroused the jealousy of Constantius, who kept Julian short of funds and under secret surveillance. In 360, while Julian was wintering at Paris, the emperor sent a demand for a number of his best troops, ostensibly for service in the East but in reality to weaken Julian. Julian’s army thereupon hailed him as Augustus. This naturally infuriated Constantius, who refused any accommodation. Julian, realizing that war between himself and Constantius was now inevitable, decided to move first. But, before the clash could come, Constantius died near Tarsus (November 361), having on his deathbed accepted the inevitable by bequeathing the empire to Julian.

Policies As Emperor

Julian, now sole Augustus, greatly simplified the life of the palace and reduced its expenses. He issued proclamations in which he declared his intention to rule as a philosopher, on the model of Marcus Aurelius. All Christian bishops exiled by Constantius were allowed to return to their sees (although the purpose of this may have been to promote dissension among the Christians), and an edict of 361 proclaimed freedom of worship for all religions.

But this initial toleration of Christianity was coupled with a determination to revive  paganism and raise it to the level of an official religion with an established hierarchy. Julian apparently saw himself as the head of a pagan church. He performed  animal sacrifices and was a staunch defender of a sort of pagan orthodoxy, issuing doctrinal instructions to his clergy. Not surprisingly, this incipient fanaticism soon led from apparent toleration to outright suppression and  persecution of Christians. Pagans were openly preferred for high official appointments, and Christians were expelled from the army and prohibited from teaching classical literature and philosophy. The latter action led  Ammianus, who admired Julian’s virtues and was himself an adherent of the traditional religion, to censure the emperor:

That was inhumane, and better committed to oblivion, that he forbade teachers of rhetoric and literature to practice their profession if they were followers of the Christian religion.

Julian wrote an attack on Christianity, “Against the Galileans,” that is known today only by fragmentary citation. “The trickery of the Galileans”—his usual term—has nothing divine in it, he argues; it appeals to rustics only, and it is made up of fables and irrational falsehoods. Here perhaps may be detected the sunset snobbery of the Athens of his day. Though professing to be a Neoplatonist and a sun worshipper, Julian himself was an addict of superstition rather than religion, according to Ammianus.

His project to rebuild the Jewish Temple in  Jerusalem was designed rather to insult the Christians than to please the Jews, who, for long accustomed to the worship of the synagogue, would have found the revival of animal sacrifice acutely embarrassing. The plan was dropped when it was reported (as it was on both an earlier and a later occasion) that “balls of fire” had issued from the old foundations and scared away the workmen. Christian cities were penalized, and churches were burned in Damascus and Beirut. Bishops, including the great Athanasius, were banished. One was horribly tortured.  Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god associated with nature, wine, and ecstasy, was installed in the Christian basilicas of Emesa (modern Ḥimṣ, Syria) and Epiphaneia (modern Ḥamāh, Syria). At  Antioch, where Julian was preparing for a campaign against the  Persians, his closing of the great basilica and the removal of the relics of the martyr Babylas from the sacred grove of Daphne annoyed the Christians. His priggish austerity did not endear him to the pagans, either, and both were equally incensed by his pamphlet entitled  Misopogon(“Beard Hater”), in which he assailed the Antiochenes for the ridicule that they poured on him for his personal conduct, his religion, and his claim to be a philosopher on the strength of his beard.

The invasion of Persian territory was always a lure in antiquity and one to which Julian was not immune. Motivated by a desire for military glory and a decision to reassert Rome’s preeminence in the East, he assembled, despite counsels of prudence from Rome and the Levant, the largest Roman army (65,000 strong and backed by a river fleet) ever to head a campaign against Persia. The Persians, aided by the desert, famine, treachery, and the incompetence of the Romans, once again proved themselves superior. During a disastrous retreat from the walls of Ctesiphon, below modern Baghdad, Julian was wounded by a spear thrown “no one knew whence,” which pierced his liver. He died the next night at age 31, having been emperor for 20 months.

Julian’s religious policy had no lasting effect. It had shown that paganism, as a religion, was doomed. It is perhaps sad, in retrospect, that the odium of proving it should rest on Julian, who with a little less venom and more tact might have been remembered for his many virtues rather than for his two fatal blunders.


Julian (Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus) (L)

Flavius Julianus (L)



  • May 331: Flavius Julianus 
  • 6 November 355: Flavius Julianus Caesar 
  • February 360: Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus 
  • 26 June 363: killed in action

nickname: Apostata ("the apostate")

Successor of: Constantius II


  • father: Julius Constantius
  • mother: Basilina
  • wife: Helena

Main deeds

Statue of a priest of Serapis, long time believed to be a portrait of Julian the ApostateStatue of a priest of Serapis, long time believed to be a portrait of Julian the Apostate

  • Youth spent in Macellum (Cappadocia)
  • 349 To Constantinople; later studies in Nicomedia with Libanius, in PergamonEphesus
  • 355, Spring: Studies in Athens
  • 355, 6 November: Julianus appointed as caesar
  • 356 Consul (with Constantius II consul VIII); Julian liberates Cologne; war against the Alamans
  • 357 Consul II (with Constantius II consul IX); Constantius' state visit to Rome;

  • Battlefield of Strasbourg
    Julian defeats the Alamans near Argentoratum (modern Strasbourg) and campaigns beyond the Rhine
  • 358 Constantius successfully campaigns against the Sarmatians, Quadi, and Limigantes; Barbatio repels an attack of the Juthungi on Raetia; Julian attacks the Franks along the Meuse
  • 359 Julian again across the Rhine; fall of Barbatio; Constantius' second campaign against the Limigantes; the Sasanian king Shapur II captures Amida; Constantius to the east; treason trials
  • 360 Consul III (with Constantius II consul X); Julian proclaimed emperor in Lutetia, attacks the Franks, visits Vienne, accepts the titles Germanicus maximus, Alamannicus maximusFrancicus maximus, and Sarmaticus maximus
  • 361 Constantius in Mesopotamia, prepares war against Julian; dies during his march to the west; Julian sole ruler; enters Constantinople, confesses his pagan beliefs; First Edict of Religious Tolerance; publishes his Hymn to HeliosHymn to the Mother of the godsAgainst the GalileansCaesares

  • A dead Julian, shown in Taq-e Bostan, IranA dead Julian, shown in Taq-e Bostan, Iran362 Julian to Antioch; publishes Misopogon
  • 362, 17 June: Edict on Teaching (against the Christians)
  • 363 Consul IV (with Flavius Sallustius); leaves Alexandria to fight against the Persians; invades Mesopotamia, reaches Ctesiphon,
  • 363, 26 June: defeated and killed

With the death of Julian, the dynasty founded by Constantius I Chloruscame to an end.

Contemporary events

Buildings: Ankara, Column of Julian

Contemporary events:

  • Julian361 Bishops Georgios returns to Alexandria, where he is lynched
  • 362 Athanasius returns to Alexandria, and forced to flee; fire in the temple of Apollo in Daphne (near Antioch); martyrdom of Dorotheus of Tyrepersecution of Christians in Baalbek
  • 363 Attempt to rebuild the Jewish temple of Jerusalem; fire in the temple of Apollo on the Palatine

Succeeded by: 


Julian (W)

Julian (331-363) (361-363) (W)

Julian the Apostate presiding at a conference of sectarian (Edward Armitage, 1875).

Julian (Latin: Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus;[a] Greek: Φλάβιος Κλαύδιος Ἰουλιανὸς Αὔγουστος; 331/332 – 26 June 363), also known as Julian the Apostate, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363, as well as a notable philosopher and author in Greek.

A member of the Constantinian dynasty, Julian was orphaned as a child. He was raised by the Gothic slave Mardonius, who had a profound influence on him, providing Julian with an excellent education. Julian became Caesar over the western provinces by order of Constantius II in 355, and in this role he campaigned successfully against the Alamanni and Franks. Most notable was his crushing victory over the Alamanni at the Battle of Argentoratum (Strasbourg) in 357, leading his 13,000 men against a Germanic army three times larger. In 360, Julian was proclaimed Augustus by his soldiers at Lutetia (Paris), sparking a civil war with Constantius. However, Constantius died before the two could face each other in battle, and named Julian as his successor.

In 363, Julian embarked on an ambitious campaign against the Sassanid Empire. The campaign was initially successful, securing a victory outside Ctesiphon. However, while campaigning into Persian territory, the Persians flooded the area behind him and Julian took a risky decision to withdraw up the valley of the Tigris River. During the Battle of Samarra, Julian was mortally wounded under mysterious circumstances, leaving his army trapped in Persian territory. Following his death, the Roman forces were obliged to cede territory in order to escape, including the fortress city of Nisibis.

Julian was a man of unusually complex character: he was “the military commander, the theosophist, the social reformer, and the man of letters.” He was the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire, and he believed that it was necessary to restore the Empire's ancient Roman values and traditions in order to save it from dissolution. He purged the top-heavy state bureaucracy, and attempted to revive traditional Roman religious practices at the expense of Christianity. His attempt to build a Third Temple in Jerusalem was probably intended to harm Christianity rather than please Jews. Julian also forbade the Christians from teaching and learning classical texts. His rejection of Christianity, and his promotion of Neoplatonic Hellenism in its place, caused him to be remembered as Julian the Apostate by the church.


Flavius Claudius Julianus was born at Constantinople in May or June 332, the son of Julius Constantius, consul in 335, and half-brother of the emperor Constantine, by his second wife, Basilina, a woman of Greek origin. Both of his parents were Christians. Julian's paternal grandparents were the emperor Constantius Chlorus and his second wife, Flavia Maximiana Theodora. His maternal grandfather was Julius Julianus, Praetorian Prefect of the East under the emperor Licinius from 315 to 324, and consul suffectus in 325. The name of Julian's maternal grandmother is unknown.

In the turmoil after the death of Constantine in 337, in order to establish himself and his brothers, Julian’s zealous Arian cousin Constantius II appears to have led a massacre of most of Julian’s close relatives. Constantius II allegedly ordered the murders of many descendants from the second marriage of Constantius Chlorus and Theodora, leaving only Constantius and his brothers Constantine II and Constans I, and their cousins, Julian and Gallus (Julian's half-brother), as the surviving males related to Emperor Constantine. Constantius II, Constans I, and Constantine II were proclaimed joint emperors, each ruling a portion of Roman territory. Julian and Gallus were excluded from public life, were strictly guarded in their youth, and given a Christian education. They were likely saved by their youth and at the urging of the Empress Eusebia. If Julian's later writings are to be believed, Constantius would later be tormented with guilt at the massacre of 337.

Initially growing up in Bithynia, raised by his maternal grandmother, at the age of seven Julian was under the guardianship of Eusebius of Nicomedia, the semi-Arian Christian Bishop of Nicomedia, and taught by Mardonius, a Gothic eunuch, about whom he later wrote warmly. After Eusebius died in 342, both Julian and Gallus were exiled to the imperial estate of Macellum in Cappadocia. Here Julian met the Christian bishop George of Cappadocia, who lent him books from the classical tradition. At the age of 18, the exile was lifted and he dwelt briefly in Constantinople and Nicomedia. He became a lector, a minor office in the Christian church, and his later writings show a detailed knowledge of the Bible, likely acquired in his early life.

Julian's conversion from Christianity to paganism happened at around the age of 20. Looking back on his life in 362, Julian wrote that he had spent twenty years in the way of Christianity and twelve in the true way, i.e., the way of Helios. Julian began his study of Neoplatonism in Asia Minor in 351, at first under Aedesius, the philosopher, and then his Aedesius' student Eusebius of Myndus. It was from Eusebius that Julian learned of the teachings of Maximus of Ephesus, whom Eusebius criticized for his more mystical form of Neoplatonic theurgy. Eusebius related his meeting with Maximus, in which the theurgist invited him into the temple of Hecate and, chanting a hymn, caused a statue of the goddess to smile and laugh, and her torches to ignite. Eusebius reportedly told Julian that he "must not marvel at any of these things, even as I marvel not, but rather believe that the thing of the highest importance is that purification of the soul which is attained by reason." In spite of Eusebius' warnings regarding the "impostures of witchcraft and magic that cheat the senses" and "the works of conjurers who are insane men led astray into the exercise of earthly and material powers", Julian was intrigued, and sought out Maximus as his new mentor. According to the historian Eunapius, when Julian left Eusebius, he told his former teacher "farewell, and devote yourself to your books. You have shown me the man I was in search of."

Julian was summoned to Constantius' court in Mediolanum (Milan) in 354 and kept there for a year; in the summer and fall of 355, he was permitted to study in Athens. While there, Julian became acquainted with two men who later became both bishops and saints: Gregory of Nazianzus and Basil the Great. In the same period, Julian was also initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, which he would later try to restore.

Constantine II died in 340 when he attacked his brother Constans. Constans in turn fell in 350 in the war against the usurper Magnentius. This left Constantius II as the sole remaining emperor. In need of support, in 351 he made Julian's half-brother, Gallus, Caesar of the East, while Constantius II himself turned his attention westward to Magnentius, whom he defeated decisively that year. In 354 Gallus, who had imposed a rule of terror over the territories under his command, was executed. Julian was summoned to court, and held for a year, under suspicion of treasonable intrigue, first with his brother and then with Claudius Silvanus; he was cleared, in part because the Empress Eusebia intervened on his behalf, and he was sent to Athens. (Julian expresses his gratitude to the empress Eusebia in his third oration.)

Religious issues


Julian’s personal religion was both pagan and philosophical; he viewed the traditional myths as allegories, in which the ancient gods were aspects of a philosophical divinity. The chief surviving sources are his works To King Helios and To the Mother of the Gods, which were written as panegyrics, not theological treatises.

As the last pagan ruler of the Roman Empire, Julian's beliefs are of great interest for historians, but they are not in complete agreement. He learned theurgy from Maximus of Ephesus, a student of Iamblichus; his system bears some resemblance to the Neoplatonism of Plotinus; Polymnia Athanassiadi has brought new attention to his relations with Mithraism, although whether he was initiated into it remains debatable; and certain aspects of his thought (such as his reorganization of paganism under High Priests, and his fundamental monotheism) may show Christian influence. Some of these potential sources have not come down to us, and all of them influenced each other, which adds to the difficulties.

According to one theory (that of G.W. Bowersock in particular), Julian’s paganism was highly eccentric and atypical because it was heavily influenced by an esoteric approach to Platonic philosophy sometimes identified as theurgy and also Neoplatonism. Others (Rowland Smith, in particular) have argued that Julian's philosophical perspective was nothing unusual for a "cultured" pagan of his time, and, at any rate, that Julian's paganism was not limited to philosophy alone, and that he was deeply devoted to the same gods and goddesses as other pagans of his day.

Because of his Neoplatonist background Julian accepted the creation of humanity as described in Plato's Timaeus. Julian writes, "when Zeus was setting all things in order there fell from him drops of sacred blood, and from them, as they say, arose the race of men." Further he writes, "they who had the power to create one man and one woman only, were able to create many men and women at once..." His view contrasts with the Christian belief that humanity is derived from the one pair, Adam and Eve. Elsewhere he argues against the single pair origin, indicating his disbelief, noting for example, "how very different in their bodies are the Germans and Scythians from the Libyans and Ethiopians."

The Christian historian Socrates Scholasticus was of the opinion that Julian believed himself to be Alexander the Great “in another body” via transmigration of souls, "in accordance with the teachings of Pythagoras and Plato".

The diet of Julian is said to have been predominantly vegetable-based.


📹 Julian the Apostate, Part 1 — Man and Emperor (VİDEO)

📹 Julian the Apostate, Part 1 — Man and Emperor (LINK)

In this video, I provide a brief biography of Julian the Apostate, one of Rome's most well-known and most controversial emperors. Soon, I will make a follow-up video covering Julian's philosophical and religious ideas now that the context has been established in this video.


📹 Julian the Apostate, Part 2 — Author and Thinker (VİDEO)

📹 Julian the Apostate, Part 2 — Author and Thinker (LINK)

In this video, which is a long-delayed sequel to a video I did on the life of the emperor Julian, I explore Julian as an author and thinker. I focus on seven of Julian's writings and provide brief descriptions and introductions to all of them.


Hıristiyanlık, Müslümanlık ve İmparatorluk

  • Hıristiyanlık ve Müslümanlık her ikisi de İmparatorluk ile bağdaşmaz.
  • Hıristiyanlık ve Müslümanlık her ikisi de insan eşitliğini ilke olarak kabul eder ve hiçbir bireysel insanın başka insanlar üzerinde üstünlüğüne izin vermez.
  • Her iki inanç biçimi de duyunç özgürlüğünü eksiksiz olarak doğrular.
  • Her iki inanç biçimi de tekerk kavramını çürütür.
  • Etnik halkların Hıristiyan ve Müslüman tekerkler altında kalmayı sürdürmeleri inandıkları konusunda tam bilgisizliklerine bağlıdır.
  • Her iki inanç için de yetke ‘Kutsal Yazılar’dır ve içeriğin nasıl anlaşılacağı ya da yorumlanacağı inanan insanın kendisine bağlıdır.
  • Ulema ya da papa, rahip vb. başka herhangi bir insandan daha büyük yetke taşımaz ve ancak danışman olabilirler.

“Temple of Ceres at Eleusis,” by Joseph Gandy (1818)

Roman copy of Demeter after a Greek original, from the 4the century BC.

“Phryne at the Poseidons celebration (Poseidonia) in Eleusis” (c. 1889) by Henryk Siemiradzki (1843-1902). Phryne is shown naked, preparing to step into the sea.
(W) (L)

Julian the Apostate abandoned Christianity in favour of a return to the old Roman ways of worship, and is shown being initiated into the Eleusian mysteries.

The Eleusinian Mysteries (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were initiations held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece.


Sephoris, Roman Villa — Artist’s reconstruction of a villa at Sephoris. Luxury for those at the top of society — poverty for those at the bottom.


Vindolanda tablet — A Birthday party invitation from Claudia Severa to Sulpicia Lepidina (early 2nd century AD).

The two women were wives of Roman cavalry officers who were stationed in garrisons in northern England. They became friends and apparently wrote to each other frequently. Two of the Claudia’s letters written on a wooden tablet have survived the ravages of time. In the letter above Claudia invites her friend to a birthday party that shall take place on the 11th of September. Caudia also explains that the day would be even more enjoyable to her, if Lepidina could come. Most of the letter has been written by a scribe but down right there are also a few lines of Claudia’s own handwriting. It’s a kind of closing of the letter there she describes Lepidina as her “sister” and “soulmate”.

Constantinople (W)

  • Builder: Constantine the Great
  • Founded: 11 May 330

Byzantium took on the name of Konstantinoupolis ("city of Constantine", Constantinople) after its refoundation under Roman emperor Constantine I, who transferred the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium in 330 and designated his new capital officially as Nova Roma (Νέα Ῥώμη) 'New Rome'. During this time, the city was also called 'Second Rome', 'Eastern Rome', and Roma Constantinopolitana.


The modern Turkish name for the city, İstanbul, derives from the Greek phrase eis tin polin (εἰς τὴν πόλιν), meaning "(in)to the city". This name was used in Turkish alongside Kostantiniyye, the more formal adaptation of the original Constantinople, during the period of Ottoman rule. (W)


The Ottoman constitution of 1876 states that "The capital city of the Ottoman State is İstanbul." İstanbul and several other variant forms of the same name were also widely used in Ottoman literature and poetry. (W)

🕑 Timeline of Constantinople

Timeline of Constantinople (W)

Timeline of Constantinople
Capital of the Byzantine Empire 395-1204 AD; 1261-1453 AD



(Κωνσταντινούπολις, translit. Kōnstantinoúpolis; Latin: Cōnstantīnopolis) was the capital city

until finally falling to the Ottoman Empire (1453-1923).

It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.

Statue of Constantine by Phillip Jackson at York Cathedral, England, in front of the 3rd century CE battle scene from the “Grande Ludovisi” sarcophagus.

From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe. The city was also famed for its architectural masterpieces, such as the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia, which served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the sacred Imperial Palace where the Emperors lived, the Galata Tower, the Hippodrome, the Golden Gate of the Land Walls, and the opulent aristocratic palaces lining the arcaded avenues and squares.

The University of Constantinople was founded in the fifth century and contained numerous artistic and literary treasures before it was sacked in 1204 and 1453, including its vast Imperial Library which contained the remnants of the Library of Alexandria and had over 100,000 volumes of ancient texts. It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom's holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross.

Constantinople was famed for its massive and complex defences. The first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, and surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts. Later, in the 5th century, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius under the child emperor Theodosius II undertook the construction of the Theodosian Walls, which consisted of a double wall lying about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front. This formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity. The city was built intentionally to rival Rome, and it was claimed that several elevations within its walls matched the 'seven hills' of Rome. Because it was located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara the land area that needed defensive walls was reduced, and this helped it to present an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces, domes, and towers, the result of the prosperity it achieved from being the gateway between two continents (Europe and Asia) and two seas (the Mediterranean and the Black Sea). Although besieged on numerous occasions by various armies, the defences of Constantinople proved impregnable for nearly nine hundred years.

Byzantium 1204. The Latin Empire, Empire of Nicaea, Empire of Trebizond, and the Despotate of Epirus. The borders are very uncertain.

In 1204, however, the armies of the Fourth Crusade took and devastated the city, and its inhabitants lived several decades under Latin misrule.
In 1261 the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos liberated the city, and after the restoration under the Palaiologos dynasty, enjoyed a partial recovery.

With the advent of the Ottoman Empire in 1299, the Byzantine Empire began to lose territories and the city began to lose population. By the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, making it an enclave inside the Ottoman Empire; after a 53-day siege the city eventually fell to the Ottomans, led by Sultan Mehmed II, on 29 May 1453,[10] whereafter it replaced Edirne (Adrianople) as the new capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Hagia Sophia.

The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople, by Eugène Delacroix, 1840.

Mehmed the Conqueror enters Constantinople, painting by Fausto Zonaro.

Siege of Constantinople from Bibliothèque nationale mansucript Français 9087 (folio 207 v). The Turkish army of Mehmet II attacks Constantinople in 1453. Some soldiers are pointing canons to the city and others are pulling boats to the Golden Horn..

Mosaic of Justinianus I
Basilica San Vitale (Ravenna)


  • Βυζάντιον (Byzántion) Megaralı Yunanlılar tarafından İÖ 657 yılında bir koloni olarak kuruldu.
  • Trakyalı (ya da İlliryalı) Kral Byzas Megaralı kolonistlerin önderi ve kentin kurucusu idi.

Coin of Byzantium. (L)

  • Konstantinopolis eski Bizans üzerine kuruldu.
  • “Bizans İmparatorluğu” adı 1555’te Alman hümanist bilgin
    Hieronymos WolfHieronymus Wolf (1516-1580) was a sixteenth-century German historian and humanist, most famous for introducing a system of Roman historiography that eventually became the standard in works of medieval Greek history.
    tarafından getirildi (Wolf kimileri tarafından
    “Alman Bizans İncelemelerinin Babası”
    olarak, aslında “Alman Bizans Tarihinin Babası” olarak görülür).


  • Avrupa tarihçiliğinde ve popüler kültüründe “Bizans” sözcüğü hükümet darbeleri, zehirlenen imparatorlar, saray entrikaları ile dolup taşan bir imparatorluğu tanımlar oldu ve ‘şişmiş bürokrasi,’ ‘kurumlu davranış,’ ‘lüks,’ ‘kurnazlık’ ve ‘hilekarlık’ gibi küçük düşürücü yan anlamlar kazandı.
  • Aydınlanma sırasında yaratılan bu olumsuz izlenim başlıca Voltaire, Montesquieu ve Gibbon tarafından pekiştirildi (bu adlar aynı zamanda ‘Bizans’a duydukları hayranlığı gizlemediler).
  • Nesnel bir çözümlemeye ve olguların bilgisine dayanmaktan çok uzak olan bu ikircimli kötüleme kültürü başlıca Doğu Roma İmparatorluğunun henüz bütünüyle yitmemiş olan görkemine ve büyüklüğüne duyulan hasede bağlıdır, çünkü —
  • Doğu Roma’nın Batı Roma’dan sonraki 1000 yıllık varlığı Avrupa’nın “Orta Çağlar” denilen karanlık dönemine denk düşer ve başlıca Germen kabilelerin barbarlığının ürünü olan bu yıkık dökük çağ Doğu Roma’yı küçük düşüren herşeyi çok geride bırakan yoz “Roma Katolik Kilisesi,” sanal “Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu,” ve feodalizm, haçlı seferleri, engizisyon gibi grotesk fenomenler tarafından tanımlanır.

Roma tarihini "klasik dönem" ve "ortaçağ dönemi" olarak ikiye bölme tutumu yalnızca Klasik Roma kültürü ve Hıristiyanlaşmakta olan Roma kültürü arasındaki yazınsal ayrımları öne çıkarma gereksiniminden doğmaz. “Bizans” İmparatorluğunun Roma İmparatorluğunun bir tür yozlaşması olarak görülmesi imparatorluğun Batıda, Avrupa‘da “Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu” olarak yeniden kuruluşu tezi için önemli bir aklama sağlar. Charlemagne’ın papa tarafından imparator olarak kutsanması gibi göstermelik ve anlamsız bir olay Osmanlı İmparatorluğunun gelişiminin bir sonucu olarak Germanik dünya için anlam ve önem kazanmaya başlar. “Bizans İmparatorluğu” terminolojisi birincil olarak Roma ve Osmanlı imparatorlukları arasındaki sürekliliği koparacak ve feodal Germanik prenslikler konfederasyonunun Roma İmparatorluğunun meşru ardılı olarak görülmesi için başlıca güçlüğü giderecektir.


Wolf 1557’de çalışmalarını Corpus Historiae Byzantinae başlığı altında yayımladı. Önemli bir tarih çalışması olmaktan çok bir tür metinler derlemi olan yapıtta “Bizans” terimin bu ilk kullanımı batı Avrupalı Katolik bilginler arasında yaygın olarak kabul gördü ve Doğu Roma ile ilgili bağlamlarda “Bizans” terimi “Roma” yerine kullanılmaya başladı. 16’ncı yüzyılda Fransa kralı XIV. Louis tüm “Bizans” yapıtlarının Wolf’un Corpus’u temelinde yeniden toparlanması için batının en iyi bilginlerine çağrıda bulundu. Sonuç koşut Yunanca metin ve Latin çeviri ile 34 ciltlik Corpus Historiae Byzantinae oldu. Çalışma Roma İmparatorluğunun kendisi tarafından hiçbir zaman kullanılmamış olan “Bizans İmparatorluğu” terimini popülerleştirdi.


The Roman Empire in 337, showing Constantine's conquests in Dacia across the lower Danube (shaded purple) and other Roman dependencies (light purple).



Map of Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολη) in the style of medieval city maps.

Constantinople in the 13th C. by French Artist Antoine Helbert.


Byzantium (W)

Byzantium or Byzantion (Βυζάντιον, Byzántion) was an ancient Greek colony in early antiquity that later became Constantinople, and then Istanbul. Byzantium was colonized by the Greeks from Megara in 657 BC.


The etymology of Byzantion is unknown. It has been suggested that the name is of Thraco-Illyrian origin. It may be derived from the Thracian or Illyrian personal name Byzas. Ancient Greek legend refers to King Byzas, the leader of the Megarian colonists and founder of the city. The form Byzantium is a latinisation of the original name.

Much later, the name Byzantium became common in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire. Its capital Constantinople stood on the site of ancient Byzantium. The name “Byzantine Empire” was introduced by the historian Hieronymus Wolf only in 1555, a century after the empire had ceased to exist. While the empire existed, the term Byzantium referred to only the city, rather than the empire.

The name Lygos for the city, which likely corresponds to an earlier Thracian settlement, is mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History.


Early design of the Byzantine star-and-crescent symbol, modelled after its appearance on a first-century coin

By the late Hellenistic or early Roman period (1st century BC), the star and crescent motif was associated to some degree with Byzantium; even though it became more widely used as the royal emblem of Mithradates VI Eupator (who for a time incorporated the city into his empire).

Byzantine coin (1st century; 19mm, 5.03 g, 6h) with a bust of Artemis on the obverse and an eight-rayed star within a crescent on the reverse side.

Some Byzantine coins of the 1st century BC and later show the head of Artemis with bow and quiver, and feature a crescent with what appears to be an eight-rayed star on the reverse. According to accounts which vary in some of the details, in 340 BC the Byzantines and their allies the Athenians were under siege by the troops of Philip of Macedon. On a particularly dark and wet night Philip attempted a surprise attack but was thwarted by the appearance of a bright light in the sky. This light is occasionally described by subsequent interpreters as a meteor, sometimes as the moon, and some accounts also mention the barking of dogs. However, the original accounts mention only a bright light in the sky, without specifying the moon. To commemorate the event the Byzantines erected a statue of Hecate lampadephoros (light-bearer or bringer). This story survived in the works of Hesychius of Miletus, who in all probability lived in the time of Justinian I. His works survive only in fragments preserved in Photius and the tenth century lexicographer Suidas. The tale is also related by Stephanus of Byzantium, and Eustathius.

Devotion to Hecate was especially favored by the Byzantines for her aid in having protected them from the incursions of Philip of Macedon. Her symbols were the crescent and star, and the walls of her city were her provenance.

It is unclear precisely how the symbol Hecate/Artemis, one of many goddesses would have been transferred to the city itself, but it seems likely to have been an effect of being credited with the intervention against Philip and the subsequent honors. This was a common process in ancient Greece, as in Athens where the city was named after Athena in honor of such an intervention in time of war.

Later, while under the Romans, cities in the Roman Empire often continued to issue their own coinage. "Of the many themes that were used on local coinage, celestial and astral symbols often appeared, mostly stars or crescent moons.” The wide variety of these issues, and the varying explanations for the significance of the star and crescent on Roman coinage precludes their discussion here. It is, however, apparent that by the time of the Romans, coins featuring a star or crescent in some combination were not at all rare.


The origins of Byzantium are shrouded in legend. Traditional legend says Byzas from Megara (a city-state near Athens) founded Byzantium in 667 BC when he sailed northeast across the Aegean Sea. The tradition tells that Byzas, son of King Nisos (Νίσος), planned to found a colony of the Dorian Greek city of Megara. Byzas consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, which instructed Byzas to settle opposite the “Land of the Blind.” Leading a group of Megarian colonists, Byzas found a location where the Golden Horn, a great natural harbor, meets the Bosporus and flows into the Sea of Marmara, opposite Chalcedon (modern day Kadıköy). He adjudged the Chalcedonians blind not to have recognized the advantages the land on the European side of the Bosporus had over the Asiatic side. In 667 BC he founded Byzantium at their location, thus fulfilling the oracle's requirement.

It was mainly a trading city due to its location at the Black Sea’s only entrance. Byzantium later conquered Chalcedon, across the Bosporus on the Asiatic side.


The location of Byzantium attracted Roman Emperor Constantine I who, in 330 AD, refounded it as an imperial residence inspired by Rome itself. (See Nova Roma.) After his death the city was called Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολις, Konstantinoupolis, “city of Constantine”).

This combination of imperialism and location would affect Constantinople's role as the nexus between the continents of Europe and Asia. It was a commercial, cultural, and diplomatic centre. With its strategic position, Constantinople controlled the major trade routes between Asia and Europe, as well as the passage from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea.

On May 29, 1453, the city fell to the Ottoman Turks, and again became the capital of a powerful state, the Ottoman Empire. The Turks called the city “Istanbul” (although it was not officially renamed until 1930); the name derives from “eis-ten-polin” (Greek: “to-the-city”). To this day it remains the largest and most populous city in Turkey, although Ankara is now the national capital.

  Comnenus family

From “The Alexiad” (Book XII) by Anna Komnene. (LINK)

Alexios I Komnenos

Alexios I Komnenos (1048-1118) (1081-1118) (W)

Portrait of Emperor Alexios I, from a Greek manuscript.

Alexios I Komnenos (Greek: Ἀλέξιος Κομνηνός, c. 1048 – 15 August 1118), Latinized Alexius I Comnenus, was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118. Although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power. Inheriting a collapsing empire and faced with constant warfare during his reign against both the Seljuq Turks in Asia Minor and the Normans in the western Balkans, Alexios was able to curb the Byzantine decline and begin the military, financial, and territorial recovery known as the Komnenian restoration. The basis for this recovery were various reforms initiated by Alexios. His appeals to Western Europe for help against the Turks were also the catalyst that likely contributed to the convoking of the Crusades.



Comnenus family

Comnenus family (1081-1185) (B)

Emperor Alexius Comnenus detail of the mosaic in the south gallery Hagia Sophia 11th century.

Comnenus family
, Comnenus also pelled Komnenos, Byzantine family from Paphlagonia, members of which occupied the throne of Constantinople for more than a century (1081-1185).

Manuel Eroticus Comnenus was the first member of the family to figure in Byzantine history; an able general, he served the emperor Basil II in the East. His son, Isaac I, leader of the military nobles and soldiery of Asia Minor, reigned as emperor from 1057 to 1059. Isaac’s nephew, Emperor Alexius I (1081-1118), founder of the Comnenian dynasty, was succeeded by his son John II (1118-43). John II was followed by Alexius I’s grandson Manuel I (1143–80) and great-grandson Alexius II (1180–83). With the death of Alexius II, the elder line of the family died out. Andronicus I (1183–85), son of John II’s brother Isaac, succeeded Alexius II and was the last Comnenian emperor. The family continued to play an important part in state affairs, however, and was allied by marriage to other ruling families, such as the Angeli and the despots of Epirus. Following the Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204, Andronicus I’s grandsons Alexius and David, with Georgian help, founded the empire of Trebizond, which lasted until 1461, when David Comnenus, its last ruler, was deposed. He was executed some time later by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. The Comnenus Mosaic. Virgin Mary With Jesus, Emperor John II Comnenus And Empress Irene.


Anna Komnene

Anna Komnene (1083-1153) (W)

Anna Komnene (Greek: Ἄννα Κομνηνή, Ánna Komnēn;ḗ 1 December 1083-1153), commonly latinized as Anna Comnena, was a Byzantine princess, scholar, physician, hospital administrator, and historian. She was the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and his wife Irene Doukaina. She is best known for her attempt to usurp her brother, John II Komnenos, and for her work The Alexiad, an account of her father's reign.

At birth, Anna was betrothed to Constantine Doukas, and she grew up in his mother's household. She was well-educated in “Greek literature and history, philosophy, theology, mathematics, and medicine.”

Anna and Constantine were next in the line to throne until Anna's younger brother, John II Komnenos, became the heir in 1092. Constantine died around 1094, and Anna married Nikephoros Bryennios in 1097. The two had several children before Nikephoros' death around 1136.

Following her father’s death in 1118, Anna and her mother attempted to usurp John II Komnenos. Her husband refused to cooperate with them, and the usurpation failed. As a result, John exiled Anna to the Kecharitomene monastery, where she spent the rest of her life.

Historian and intellectual

In the seclusion of the monastery, Anna dedicated her time to studying philosophy and history. She held esteemed intellectual gatherings, including those dedicated to Aristotelian studies. Anna's intellectual genius and breadth of knowledge is evident in her few works. Among other things, she was conversant with philosophy, literature, grammar, theology, astronomy, and medicine. It can be assumed because of minor errors that she may have quoted Homer and the Bible from memory when writing her most celebrated work, the Alexiad. Her contemporaries, like the metropolitan Bishop of Ephesus, Georgios Tornikes, regarded Anna as a person who had reached “the highest summit of wisdom, both secular and divine.”


Roman Empire (in orange) c. 1180, at the end of the Komnenian period.

  ‘Latin’ Empire (Imperium Romaniae) (1204-1261)
The Latin Empire
🔎 The Latin Empire with its vassals (in yellow) and the Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire (in red) after the Treaty of Nymphaeum in 1214.

Latin Empire of Constantinople

Latin Empire of Constantinople (1204-1261) (W)

The Empire of Romania (Latin: Imperium Romaniae), more commonly known in historiography as the Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople, and known to the Byzantines as the Frankokratia or the Latin Occupation, was a feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261. The Latin Empire was intended to supplant the Byzantine Empire as the titular Roman Empire in the east, with a Western Roman Catholic emperor enthroned in place of the Eastern Orthodox Roman emperors.

• 1204–1205
Baldwin I
• 1206–1216
• 1216–1217
• 1217–1219
Yolanda (regent)
• 1219–1228
Robert I
• 1228–1237
John of Brienne(regent)
• 1237–1261
Baldwin II


Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders, was crowned the first Latin emperor as Baldwin I on 16 May 1204. The Latin Empire failed to attain political or economic dominance over the other Latin powers that had been established in former Byzantine territories in the wake of the Fourth Crusade, especially Venice, and after a short initial period of military successes it went into a steady decline. Weakened by constant warfare with the Bulgarians and the unconquered sections of the empire, it eventually fell when Byzantines recaptured Constantinople under Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos in 1261. The last Latin emperor, Baldwin II, went into exile, but the imperial title survived, with several pretenders to it, until the 14th century.



Empire of Nicaea

Empire of Nicaea (1204-1261) (W)

The Latin Empire, Empire of Nicaea, Empire of Trebizond, and the Despotate of Epirus — the borders are very uncertain. (W)

The Empire of Nicaea or the Nicene Empire was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek rump states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade. Founded by the Laskaris family, it lasted from 1204 to 1261, when the Nicaeans restored the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople.

In 1204, Byzantine emperor Alexios V Ducas Murtzouphlos fled Constantinople after crusaders invaded the city. Soon after, Theodore I Lascaris, the son-in-law of Emperor Alexios III Angelos, was proclaimed emperor but he too, realizing the situation in Constantinople was hopeless, fled to the city of Nicaea (today İznik) in Bithynia.

The Latin Empire, established by the Crusaders in Constantinople, had poor control over former Byzantine territory, and Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire sprang up in Epirus, Trebizond, and Nicaea. Trebizond had broken away as an independent state a few weeks before the fall of Constantinople. Nicaea, however, was the closest to the Latin Empire and was in the best position to attempt to re-establish the Byzantine Empire.


📹 Wars of the Byzantine Partition / Every Month (4th Crusade) (VİDEO)

Wars of the Byzantine Partition / Every Month (4th Crusade) (LINK)

Following the Fourth Crusade, the Byzantine Empire was partitioned between the Latin crusaders who had sacked Constantinople. A 57 year long struggle for control of Greece ensued between the Latin and Greek successor states.


📹 Byzantium, 1204-1453 — Restoration, Twilight, and Fall (VİDEO)

📹 Byzantium, 1204-1453 — Restoration, Twilight, and Fall (LINK)

In this videos, I look at the final years of the Byzantine Empire. In this period, the Byzantines restored their empire after the Fourth Crusade, but their state apparatus had been too greatly damaged for them to continue to remain relevant for long. By 1400, Byzantium was in terminal decline.


Crusaders Thirsting near Jerusalem, by Francesco Hayez. (L)

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