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Animated map showing the territorial evolution of the Byzantine Empire (in green).
The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, and formerly Byzantium). It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire (Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, tr. Basileia Rhōmaiōn; Latin: Imperium Romanum), or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".
Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I (r. 324–337) reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, and legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I (r. 379–395), Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed. Finally, under the reign of Heraclius (r. 610–641), the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
The Fall of Constantinople refers to the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire which occurred after a siege laid by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Sultan Mehmed II. The siege lasted from Thursday, 5 April 1453 until Tuesday, 29 May 1453 (according to the Julian Calendar), when the city fell to the Ottomans. Constantinople was defended by the army of Emperor Constantine XI. The event marked the end of the political independence of the millennium-old Byzantine Empire, which was by then already fragmented into several Greek monarchies.
Manuel I Komnenos or Comnenus (Greek: Μανουήλ Α' Κομνηνός, Manouēl I Komnēnos, 28 November 1118 – 24 September 1180) was a Byzantine Emperor of the 12th century who reigned over a crucial turning point in the history of Byzantium and the Mediterranean. Eager to restore his empire to its past glories as the superpower of the Mediterranean world, Manuel pursued an energetic and ambitious foreign policy. In the process he made alliances with the Pope and the resurgent west, invaded Italy, successfully handled the passage of the dangerous Second Crusade through his empire, and established a Byzantine protectorate over the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer. Facing Muslim advances in the Holy Land, he made common cause with the Kingdom of Jerusalem and participated in a combined invasion of Fatimid Egypt. Manuel reshaped the political maps of the Balkans and the east Mediterranean, placing the kingdoms of Hungary and Outremer under Byzantine hegemony and campaigning aggressively against his neighbours both in the west and in the east. However, towards the end of his reign Manuel's achievements in the east were compromised by a serious defeat at Myriokephalon, which in large part resulted from his arrogance in attacking a well-defended Seljuk position.
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External links and resources
Societies of Byzantine studies
Journals of Byzantine studies
Byzantine studies and research institutes
- AHRB Centre for Byzantine Cultural History (in English)
- Византолошки институт САНУ - Institute for Byzantine Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (in Serbian) (in English)
- Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC (in English)
- Ινστιτούτο Βυζαντινών Ερευνών (ΙΒΕ) - Institute of Byzantine Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens (in Greek) (in English)
- Institut für Byzantinische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte, University of Heidelberg (in German)
- Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik, Münster (in German)
- Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik, University of Vienna (in German)
- Institut für Byzanzforschung (IBF), Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna (in German)
- Κέντρο Βυζαντινών Ερευνών (ΚΒΕ) - Byzantine Research Centre, University of Thessaloniki (in Greek) (in English)
- The Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research (in English)
- Εταιρείας Βυζαντινών Σπουδών - Society for Byzantine Studies of Athens (in Greek)
Bibliography and primary sources
On-line manuscript collections
Art, museums and exhibitions
- Byzantine Coins (in English)
- Byzantine Coinage, Chronological Index of Byzantine Rulers (in English)
- Byzantium 1200 (in English)
- The Byzantine churches of Istanbul, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (in English)
- Byzantine Monuments of Attica, Institute of Byzantine Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation (in English) (in Greek)
- Byzantine Seals Online Catalogue, Dumbarton Oaks Research Institute (in English)
- Coins of the Byzantine Empire (in English)
- Digitales Forschungsarchiv Byzanz, University of Vienna (in German) (in English)
- Ίδρυμα Μείζονος Ελληνισμού - Foundation of the Hellenic World (in English) (in Greek)
- Interactive Map of Constantinople, University of Toronto (in English)
- Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization, Harvard University (in English)
- ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World (in English)
- PLEIADES: A community-built gazetteer and graph of ancient places (in English)
- Η Καστροπολιτεία του Μυστρά, Hellenic Ministry of Culture (in Greek)
- LEVANTIA - Social history of the Levant (in English)
- Roman and Byzantine Law (in English)
- Suda On Line: Byzantine Lexicography (in English)
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