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BYZTINTIUM

mo
BOOKS

LIFE

WORLD LIBRARY

LIFE

NATURE LIBRARY

TIME READING PROGRAM

HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

THE

LIFE

LIFE

SCIENCE LIBRARY

INTERNATIONAL BOOK SOCIETY

GREAT AGES OF MAN


TIME-LIFE LIBRARY

OF ART

TIME-LIFE LIBRARY OF

AMERICA

GREAT AGES OF MAN


A

History of the World's Cultures

BYZ7I NTI

UM

by

PHILIP

SHERRARD
and

The

Editors of

TIME-LIFE

BOOKS

TIME INCORPORATED, NEW YORK

THE AUTHOR:

on Byzantium,
London University in modern Greek literature and held
a research fellowship at Oxford University. His major publications include Athos,
the Mountain of Silence; Constantinople: Iconography of a Sacred City; and The
Greek East and the Latin West. He now lives with his Greek wife in Athens,
where he has served as the Assistant Director of the British School of Archaeology.
Philip Sherrard, a distinguished English authority

received his doctorate from

THE CONSULTING EDITOR:

Leonard Krieger,

now

University Professor at the

University of Chicago, was formerly Professor of History at Yale; Dr. Krieger

is

The German Idea of Freedom and The Politics of Discretion, and


History, written in collaboration with John Higham and Felix Gilbert.

the author of

co-author of

THE COVER:

St.

Demetrios, one of Byzantium's revered warrior saints,

tured in a mosaic from the 11th Century

TIME-LIFE

Church

BOOKS

GREAT AGES OF
SERIES EDITOR: Russell

EDITOR

Editorial Staff for

Maitland A. Edey

Martin

Text Editors:

Korn

TEXT DIRECTOR

Designer:

Sheldon Cotler

Bourne

Byzantium:

Ogden Tanner, Betsy

Beatrice T. Dobie

Staff Writers:

Field,

John Stanton, Edmund White

Chief Researcher: Peggy Bushong

Mason

Researchers: Irene Ertugrul, Alice Baker,

Assistant Text Directors:

Harold C.

Frankel

Norman Snyder

Assistant Designer: Ladislav Svatos

PICTURE EDITOR

Assistartt

MAN

CHIEF OF RESEARCH

Robert C.

pic-

Picture Editor: John Paul Porter

ART DIRECTOR

Mann

is

in Greece.

Assistant Editor: Carlotta Kerwin

EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Jerry

Loukas

of Hosios

Jacqueline Boel, Carole Isenberg, Frank Kendig,

Ogden Tanner

Kaye

Art Director: Arnold C. Holeywell

Neil,

Theo

Pascal, Jeffrey Tarter,

Arlene Zuckerman

Assistant Chief of Research: Martha Turner

EDITORIAL PRODUCTION
PUBLISHER

Color Director: Robert

Rhett Austell

Assistant: James

General Mana<(er: Joseph C. Hazen


Circulation Director: Joan D.

Copy

Jr.

Manley

McSweeney

Littles

Traffic:

Douglas Graham, David Wyland

Art Assistants: Anne Landry, Robert

Pellegrini

preparing this book was given by Dmitri Kessel, Life staff photographer; the Chief of the

Life Picture Library, Doris

Chief of the Time-Life


is),

Marian Gordon Goldman.

Joan Lynch, Barbara Sullivan

Louis Bronze, James Wendell Forbes

in

Young

Picture Bureau: Margaret K. Goldsmith,

Publishing Board: Nicholas Benton,

Valuable aid

L.

Cox

Barbara Hults, Dolores A.

Marketing Director: Carter Smith


Business Manager: John D.

Staff:

J.

ONeil; the Chief

News

Barbara Moir (London),

Service, Richard

Ann Natanson

Byzantium

of the

Time

Inc.

Bureau of Editorial Reference, Peter Draz; the

M. Clurman; and Correspondents Maria Vincenza

Aloisi (Par-

(Rome), Elisabeth Kraemer (Bonn), Helga Kohl (Athens).

1966 Time

Published simultaneously

Inc.
in

All rights reserved.

Canada. Revised 1967.

Library of Congress catalogue card

number 66-28334.

School and library distribution by Silver Burdett Company.

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION

THE
1

2
3

NEW ROME

Picture Essay:

PRESERVING A HERITAGE

Picture Essay:

30

A CAPITAL OBSERVED

41

CHRONICLE OF AN EMPIRE
Picture Essay:

BASIL

THE MAGNIFICENT

4
5

THE HOLY ESTABLISHMENT

Picture Essay:

Picture Essay:

fT THE

19

CONSTANTINE'S CITY

AN EMPEROR UNDER GOD

lo

TECHNIQUES OF

63

74

WAR

83

92

A PICTURE-BOOK CHURCH

ROUND OF BYZANTINE

101

LIFE

ni

A GLITTERING CULTURE
Picture Essay:

TRADITIONS OF BEAUTY

145

THE FINAL CENTURIES


Picture Essay:

STRONGHOLDS OF BYZANTIUM

Chronologies, 183
Bibliography, credits and art notes, 186

Acknowledgments, 187
Index, 188

171

NTRODUCTION
What was

historical unit?

The

what was
reader

tions will find that there are

even find

will

a thing as a

that

it

who

made

its
it

asks these ques-

no simple answers. He
never was such

that, in a sense, there

Byzantine empire; that had he

us say in the 10th Century, in

let

What was

empire?

the Byzantine

place in history, and

lived,

some provincial

town of the so-called Byzantine empire and

re-

inhabitants as Byzantines, they would

ferred to

its

not have

known what he was

talking about. For in

was

also a great cuhural unit at a time

was

tellectual activity

without

that culture

The

principal ingredients of that culture were

Greek, but blended with them

life,

was, in

mod-

gin.

So

is

of comparatively

to those

the borders of the empire to

who

dwelled within

which

refers.

it

would the inhabitants have understood

Nor

a visitor

if

in the final

many

the great Christian synthesis, were

elements. Christianity

unknown

its

itself,

surrounded by ceremonial.

power from God and

And

Eastern features of

Byzantium's magnificent art its abstract character,

mentation are everywhere apparent,

was the Roman Empire and

they were Romans.

phase of the

Roman

Empire.

tianity

and Constantine the Great's transfer of

capital

from

It

Rome

began with the triumph of Chris-

Byzantium early

to

Century. Despite the loss of

and
it

its

its

in the

his

Fourth

western provinces,

geographical restriction to those of the east,

perpetuated without

break the political struc-

ture

which the Romans had fashioned. Although

the

Byzantine

empire

much

that

was Roman

ernment and law. As


Empire

it

in

its

character,

continuation of the
it

Roman
actually

in the world.

impressive political

for over a

it

ideology, gov-

considered itself and at times

was the one empire

An

underwent

subsequently

changes which substantially altered


retained

flatness, its brilliant colors, its elaborate orna-

This synthesis of cultures, dominated by Christo

surrounding bar-

and the Russians,

and so made
the

thousand years, the Byzantine empire

civilized

nations out of

same time Byzantium

as inspiration for the

The

aissance.

them. At

preserved the great sec-

ular literature of classical antiquity

which served

emerging Europe of the Ren-

cultural influence of

Byzantium was

worldwide.
It

cal

is

with this empire, great both as a

organism and as

of culture,

that

the

what general,

that

following pages deal.

is

matter dictated

very nature of his assignment.

which he

further study.

does that,

it

If

will

politi-

synthesizer and preserver

the treatment of his subject the author

style in

organism which endured

Byzantium passed on

barians, such as the Balkan Slavs

tianity,

The Byzantine empire was indeed

in ori-

author notes, was the absolutism

too, as the

of the emperor, deriving his

guage they spoke was Greek. For them, the empire


lived

Oriental

the core of Byzantine

its

which they

result,

most primitive form. Eastern

he had referred to them as Greeks, though the Ian-

in

of the

first

and then of the Roman Em-

Hellenistic monarchies
pire.

continued

It

Alexander the Great, the establishment

site

origin,

minimum.

had evolved following the conquests of

truth the expression "Byzantine empire" (derived

em

at a

in a

units, in-

break the culture of the ancient world as

from Byzantium, the ancient town on whose


Constantinople was built)

when,

Europe broken up into numerous feudal

writes,

is

If

in

someby

the

The stimulating

however, should induce

the reading of

have achieved

its

this

book indeed

purpose.

PETER CHARANIS
Voorhees Professor of History, Rutgers. The State University.

New

Jersey

tmrm^mmriiiiu

iniiiu hi

mmmmm

^.

>;Jt

^'<1"

-t-

Ctij^^^i'^'^'^"-

For a long time the general view of the history of

Western

civilization relegated to a

most fascinating and

of the

human

record.

lasted

It

remarkable that Byzantium,

is

and

more than

vast empire

minor place one

influential ages in the

cultural

brilliant

entity

that

thousand years, was almost

disregarded by most historians of the West.

According
tion

had

its

Western

to this general view,

origins in ancient Greece. Behind the

ancient Greek world

lay

itself

the

impressive

sometimes shadowy forms of several other

NEW ROME

if

civiliza-

tionsamong them Assyria and Egypt, India and

Minoan

THE

civiliza-

Crete. But

it

was

ancient Greece that

in

the vital elements of these earlier civilizations were

and cultural

fused into a pattern of

civil

we now

specifically

recognize as

that

life

The

Western.

Greeks, however, failed to practice their political

thought on any scale larger than that of the


state.

city-

Although Alexander the Great broke through

the confines of the classical

Greek world and

dif-

fused Greek culture across the lands of Anatolia,


Syria and Egypt, he failed to create a political or-

ganization capable of uniting the numerous peoples

he had conquered.
It

of

was only

three centuries later, with the rise

Roman power and


that

rule,

Western

Roman

the consolidation of

the

civilization for

acquired a pattern for political order.

time

first

Rome

ab-

sorbed and preserved Greek culture and education


within a political structure that

York

in Britain to

from

stretched

Alexandria in Egypt, from the

Atlantic to the Euphrates. Yet

destined to disintegrate. After

was an Empire

it

some

five centuries,

between the Fourth Century and the early Sixth


Century, the great barbarian leaders Alaric, Attila,

Clovis,

and Theodoric swept into

other parts of

empire

the

old ruling classes

in

the

Italy

and

West. Rome's

were destroyed and the West

sank into that period of

its

history

known

as the

Dark Ages.

The next
Western

great phase in

civilization

is

this

general

view of

represented by the Renais-

sance, and the revival of learning and culture which

took place in Italy and elsewhere from 1400 onward. The


BYZANTTUMS IMPERIAL EAGLE, seen here on a 10th Century silk shroud, was
a traditional emblem of Roman authority that craftsmen in the East preserved and imitated for centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire.

"rediscovery

of the ancient

many

"

of the literature

and

Greco-Roman world, hidden

art

for so

centuries under a blanket of ignorance and


11

THE CYRILLIC ALPHABET was one

more im-

of Byzantium's

portant cultural legacies to the Eastern European world.

Although
letters

their

names

on Greeksome Cyrillic

largely

shown

are

alpha

is

used

The modern adaptation

original 43 letters.

its

in

Russia has been reduced

33

to

letters.

brought the "dark" Middle Ages

illiteracy,

delta

epsilon

zeta

eta

theta

an

to

KE

az

buki, vedi

glagol'

dobro

yest'

zemlya

The Orthodox Christian

invention.

Cyrillic alphabet, the very

modern Western world.

ple

of

scheme

of things, there

strange kind

is

Roman

gap or hiatus between the decline of the

Empire and the


lized

world

Not even

is

Renaissance

rise of

supposed

The

Italy.

have suffered an

to

civi-

eclipse.

the glories of Charlemagne's court and

the brilliance of medieval scholarship are of

any

assumed

1400

consequence.

It is

A.D. the progress of the


deed

all

cultural

This version of history


simplification:

tween the old

it

is

that

arts

came

life,

from 400

and

to

and

sciences,

in-

to a halt.
is

more than an over-

Roman Empire and

may

Most

For be-

the Renaissance

way

striking

brilliant

its

glittering,

same

among Byzantium's unique conand Western Asia are

evident in

skills

principles

in

its

same

these

churches-

areas

today.

the twisted ridges of Yugoslavia, in

open valleys of Romania, or on the Syrian desone sees the

many

majestic vaults and

must

of a stone church, there one


a

of these peo-

life

many-faceted structures being built on

Wherever on
the

the

religion,

mosaics, and the architectural forms

and engineering

the

of

fita

be traced to Byzantine origins.

tributions to Eastern Europe

erts

misrepresentation.

gamma

end and prepared the way for the emergence of the

In this

domes

acknowledge

also

debt to the genius of the Byzantine builders

first

developed such

who

hierarchy of forms.

Byzantium may be ob-

endured for some

Though indebtedness

eleven centuries, and formed a strategic bridge be-

vious in Eastern Europe,

tween antiquity and the modern world.

grudgingly recognized in the countries of the West.

lay the great age of Byzantium.

It

It

not only

Roman

preserved the two unifying elements of the

Empire Roman law and

state organization, and the

inherited tradition of Hellenic culture it added a


third

and even more powerful organizing

force:

Indeed, the

wonder

is

not that Byzantium

ing "rediscovered" today but that

remained shrouded
ing.

There

is,

to

cultural

Russia.

To

in

it

be-

is

for so long

mystery and misunderstand-

be sure,

that does regard


its

The

revival of

tine

scholars

literature.

a sizable part of the

Byzantium

lineage the

as a

major source of

Balkans

these sections of Europe

any others did Byzantium (which

world

and

western

more than

fell to

the

to

Turks

in 1453) transmit its rich heritage of tradition

and

in

to

it is

more subtle and more

Greek ideas during the Renaissance

would have been

largely impossible

had not Byzan-

and preserved the ancient

studied

Certain cathedrals from

Charlemagne,

Christianity.

12

beta

at right (below) with

Creek equivalents (above) it also drew on Hebrew

their

for three of

that

was modeled

it

and

like the

one

still

the

reign

of

standing at Aachen

Germany, use Byzantine decorative

motifs, floor

plans and construction techniques; but these are


generally counted as features of Carolingian

And

it is

art.

forgotten bit of cultural history that the

fork that most characteristic implement of Western table service was


society

by

Indeed, in

first

introduced to Venetian

Byzantine princess.
the eyes

of

many

Westerners,

the

Byzantines have continued to seem either like his-

iota

kappa

lambda

mu

nu

myslete

nash

K
kako

lyudi

omicron

on

ksi

2:

4>

pi

rho

sigma

tau

upsilon

phi

chi

psi

omega

GO

pokoi

rlsy

slovo

tvyordo

izhita

fert

kha

psi

omega

or like grotesque figures in a

torical nonentities,

strange and tasteless drama. Perhaps this

because

is

of the Byzantine's great passion for three aspects


of

that have always been rather suspect in the

life

West: spectacular popular circuses, courtly intrigue


(including royal eye-gougings) and religious mys-

Rome

looked to

watched

upon

for protection

and leadership; some

apprehensively, fearing

it

commanding

position, the

by

moil. Still governed

not an empire,

Roman

was

state

system suitable

was wracked by

it

new demands

But despite

their territory or authority.

this

in tur-

to a city,

internal strife.

long

While preserving the governmental forms of the

chronicle of activities in these three spheres, such

Republic, Augustus succeeded in creating a strong

writers as the Englishman William Lecky have con-

authoritarian government that recognized both the

cluded that Byzantium was merely "a monotonous

needs of empire and the age-old

Shocked, puzzled or dismayed by

ticism.

story of

women,

the

intrigues

of

eunuchs and

priests,

of poisonings, of conspiracies, of uniform

Byzantine

life

grisly side, but

now beginning

may have had


was one

to see,

consistency and, above


it

all,

strange and even

we

of

all

are

of surprising beauty,

durability. Furthermore,

power and glory

possessed sufficient

together virtually

its

underlying pattern, as

its

the

bind

to

nonbarbarian world

before the rise of the West, thus demonstrating an

men and

admirable mastery of
this

reason

it is

necessary to attempt

penetrating view of Byzantium.

Byzantine civilization,

main forces

it is

that forged

Roman Empire and


By

events.

it:

And

If

only for

more deeply

to

understand

of the

Western world;

sur-

by the Third Century the

empire had been brought close

breaking

the

to

point by a combination of factors misuse of authority, bureaucratic

omy,

bumbling,

scheming of ambitious men. The

was demonstrated

of the times

when

193,

climate

political

as early as the year

popular emperor, Pertinax, was mur-

dered by the

elite

Praetorian Guard, which then

proceeded to auction
ner

foundering econ-

wars, barbarian raids and the private

civil

was one

off the

emperorship. The win-

Rome was

the

scarcely 300

the focal point

eyes turned to

it.

Julianus, a wealthy senator

who, ac-

contemporary account, "was holding

and daughters and fellow feasters urged him

masterpiece. At the time of

ail

Augustan system was

drinking bout late that evening [when] his wife

the second half of the Third Century,

power,

inception, the

the changing form of the

the rise of Christianity.

system had been

its

cording to

years before faced disintegration. Augustus' imperial

At

necessary to examine the

Roman Empire founded by Augustus

his succession to

dislike for

autocracy and kingship.

prisingly farsighted. But

ingratitude, of perpetual fratricide."

Roman

Some

from
racks

his

banqueting couch and hasten

... on

the

way

they pressed

it

to rise

to the bar-

on him

that

he might get the sovereignty for himself and that


he ought not to spare the
competitors

"
.

money

to

outbid any

The Roman Empire was

his.

Within months, however, julianus had himself


13

been deposed and murdered, and by 235 A.D.

had

tary anarchy

were 20 legitimate emperors

who

counted usurpers

ment became

un-

to

of central govern-

mockery: power was

whose

of the provincial armies


their

addition

in

ruled sections of the Empire

The concept

at various times.

mili-

next 50 years there

set in. In the

own commanders,

in the

hands

were

loyalties

to

not to the Empire. In the

named Postumus

seized

Gaul and

some of Spain and ruled these provinces

as a sep-

West,

arate

general

kingdom

for nine years. In the East, a

named Zenobia, widow


quered the

even

Roman

extended

of a

Palmyran prince, con-

provinces of Asia Minor and

her

influence

breadbasket of the Empire.


feated

woman

Though

by Emperor Aurelian,

Egypt,

into

the

eventually de-

contempt

her

for

Rome, which had once held undisputed sway over


virtually the

whole known world,

this reply to Aurelian's

demand

ans are on our

it

be

The brigands

side.

when we have

which come

Aurelian

The men who came


failed,

at

Armeni-

what

all

sides?

You
if

will

of

civil

to

home. The

work

honored government positions became

den which had

idle

once-

these

it;

heavy bur-

be forced upon the citizens. The

to

Roman Empire had become a top-heavy

bureaucracy,

always demanding more men, more goods, more


taxes

from provinces almost wrung dry.


scene

Into this

stepped

Dalmatian

soldier,

who openly adpower. He success-

Diocletian, a powerful personality

vocated

system of autocratic

fully asserted the concept of the divine right of the

emperor and, armed with


ically set

Empire.

power, he systemat-

this

about restoring order to the crumbling


he

First,

fortified the frontiers against the

from outlying barbarians and sep-

threat of force

arated civil authority from the military to forestall

from within. He

attempts to

the value of coinage and issued his

fix

famous Price

made

also

Edict,

price for goods

which established

maximum

and wages, category by category,

throughout the Empire; though not wholly successful,

momentum

these steps did arrest the

of the

downhill spiral of the economy.


Diocletian also recognized the unwieldiness of
its

inces into smaller units, almost doubling their

prov-

num-

had

provinces were grouped into dioceses and these in

was 95 per

turn were organized into four prefectures. At the

silver coinage
it

attempt

to

meet the

sophisticated

money
rising

economy

col-

servants were paid in rations and clothing.

such

of the plague de-

degree that large tracts

of land passed from cultivated acreage to wild land.


14

to

governors to contest the Emperor's authority. The

The

to

money

or

the administrative and

in a vain

manpower

men

without

ber and thereby weakening the power of provincial

Repeated wars and repeated waves


pleted

their

fulfill

Rome's far-flung bureaucracy and carved

lapsed into a system of payment in kind; soldiers

and

to

quotas to the state even though the land lay

already full

cent copper and more and more worthless

tide of inflation.

lower

power on the strength

been severely debased at one point

was minted

will

to surrender."

to

were required

almost without exception, to

find effective solutions

economic chaos

the

town magistrates who were responsible

for collecting taxes

violent military coups


will

of Syria have

then that tone with which you, as

conqueror now bid me

their armies

and we

received the reinforcements

from

to us

us,

The Saracens and

defeated your army,

in

for surrender:

"The Persians do not abandon


await their succors.

revealed

is

Provincial

Diocletian split

top,

the

administration between

two emperors, each with the


one

in the East

and one

in the

title

of

Augustus-

West. To control the

matter of orderly succession, each emperor had an


heir apparent with the

title

of Caesar. Each

was

responsible for a given area of the Empire; but


decrees of government had to be issued in the
of

all

four

members

of the tetrarchy.

all

name

OLD AND NEW CAPITALS


pire are personified

of the

by female

Roman Em-

figures in the

Rome

Fifth

Century ivory plaques at

(left)

wears a military helmet; Constantino-

ple's

right.

crown symbolizes the walls of her

city.

Diocletian himself took the post of emperor in

was another force within the Empire a force which

the East, choosing as his capital Nicomedia, not

Diocletian failed to utilize or even to cope with

which was soon

which helped create Byzantium. That force was

far

from the

city

to

become Con-

stantinople. Here, his use of the divine status of

the emperor, in itself an Eastern concept, took

and ceremonies: he put

oriental trappings

on

his head, scarlet

self clad in

on

diadem

buskins on his feet and had him-

robes of purple by the eunuchs

who

at-

Christianity.

In Diocletian's time, the religion that

able obstacles.

The moral and

of Christians often brought

Roman

came before him had

seems amazing. Not the

in

adoration.

The

Roman Empire

indirectly

set

the

stage for the rise of Byzantium. For in preserving


the Empire, Diocletian also revitalized

new importance

to

the

it

and gave

Eastern dominions.

The

sound new substructure that underlay the Roman


state

would become the Byzantine empire. Yet there

law, calling

spiritual

them

standards

into conflict with

down on them

persecutions so

harsh that the persistence of early Christianity often

stacles

steps Diocletian took to check the disinte-

gration of the

was

spreading throughout the Empire despite innumer-

tended him in the inner sanctuary of his court.

prostrate themselves

to play

so important a role in Byzantine civilization

He claimed descent from Jupiter, king of the gods,


and when he revealed himself in audience those who
to

was

least of Christianity's

was the multitude of

religions

ob-

and philoso-

phies that vied for the loyalties of the peoples of


the

Roman

world.

Two

of Christianity's strongest

competitors were the pagan philosophies. Stoicism

and Neoplatonism.
Stoicism, with
its strictly

its

ideal of

an ordered society and

Roman
high among

practical morality, appealed to the

mind, which ranked practical efficiency

15

When, two

the virtues.

Christ, the Emperor,

icism as his guiding philosophy,

it

reached

zenith.

its

Neoplatonism, claiming descent from some of the

more

Roman

through the
pire aided

Roman
it

began

Christ

common

ways

Alexandria. Unlike Stoicism,

its

were also the languages of

for a mystical experience of

an Absolute beyond the


Its

highly speculative

and contemplative nature prevented


extensive popular appeal.

It

from having

it

appealed to the few,

capable of mastering

its

complex meta-

Roman network
facilitate

make

to

as

Greek and

well.

Roman world,
Christianity. And the

languages of the

towns and roads, designed

of

government and

trade, eased the task of

who

abhorred Gentiles and held themselves aloof

from the Gentile world. Christians reached out


into that world. Starting as groups of local

municants who gathered

tonism held out anything for the poor in

Supper and who were loosely bound by

bottom of Greek

the

and Roman

who

tians gradually took

labored and

were heavy laden.

patterns of the

For those great masses of the people some leavening of the frustrations and hardships of

Roman

its own
much from the

Church developed

mans were

similating

any

cult provided

it

did not run counter to the interests of the state or

promote

civil

disturbance.

the existence within the

merous

Roman system

most ubiquitous of these

cults

unconquered Sun, made


soldiers.

it

rites.

particularly

mans

as just

popular

to provide

what Roman law provided on

the plane of civil organization and

Christianity

of

But none of the mystery cults had

a spiritual plane

sical tradition

One

re-

of Apollo, the

an appeal strong and universal enough

on

East,

was Mithraism,

whose masculine nature and worship

among

of the nu-

North Africa and the

with exotic gods and bizarre

ligions

the

cults of

Hence they permitted

what Greek

clas-

provided on the plane of culture.

was

originally regarded

one more mystery

by the Ro-

religion,

local

variant of Judaism. Thus, like Judaism, which had


a

working agreement with Rome and was per-

mitted to function without hindrance, Christianity, too,

was

tolerated.

and created an

state

new

ritual

Christian

and doctrine,

thinkers and

as-

and philoso-

religions

phies of the varied peoples of the Empire.


ing

efficient

own.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the

provided by various "mystery" religions. The Rowilling to tolerate

the Last

a belief in

on some of the administrative

religious organization of their

was

life

commemorate

to

com-

imminent Second Coming of Christ, the Chris-

for the multitude of slaves at the


society, or for those

to

spreading the Christian Word. Unlike the Jews,

physical structure. Neither Stoicism nor Neoplaspirit,

way
Em-

their

Empire. Unknowingly, the

in other

Latin, the

grasp of rational thought.

16

of

its

appeal was not solely to reason, but to the desire

to those

so in this brief, early period of peace the

teachings

had

spiritual aspects of Plato's doctrines,

origins in

And

centuries after the birth of

Marcus Aurehus, adopted Sto-

Its lead-

Origen,

intellectuals Irenaeus,

Clement of Alexandria took over the language and

many
its

Greek philosophy.

of the ideas of

Many

of

customs and services were based on the Judaic

forms, but Christians also adopted rituals and even


dates from pagan religions. (The date of Christ-

mas, for example, was pegged

compete with

was

known.) Thus Christianity added

strengths a universal appeal.


tury

it

to

Mithraitic festival day, although

the exact date of Christ's birth


not,

December 25

at

was well on

its

way

to

By

not,

and

is

to its other

the Third Cen-

becoming the most

powerful single force within the Empire, capable


of infusing

new

life

into

Rome's

failing

govern-

mental structure and the weakening tradition of


classical learning.

During the early years of


tians

had not been

their existence. Chris-

in actual conflict

with the

state.

When

confronted with the choice of submission or

suffering, they consistently chose the second.

had no desire

when

to

They

thwart imperial authority, but

they were required by Diocletian to accept

the concept of the emperor as a god, and to worship

him, they refused. Diocletian countered by embark-

what was

ing on

be the

to

last

great persecution

of Rome's Christian subjects, thereby missing the

chance

to

harness this dynamic element for the

benefit of the Empire. In 303 he issued the


a series of edicts, ordering

churches

first

to be

of

razed,

sacred books to be burned, and Christians themselves to be enslaved,

imprisoned or tortured

if

HARD DAYS FOR CHRISTIANITY

they refused to give up their faith.

made martyrs out

Diocletian's edicts

the victims, and impressed

Roman

some

of

of

more than one pagan

with the extent of Christian courage. The

hour for Christianity's triumph had not yet struck,


but

to

Domninus, shown above being clubbed


Roman soldier, was one of

death by a

martyred

Christians

countless

Byzantine

times.

Major

pre-

in

phases

the

in

persecutions they endured appear below.

was not

it

St.

to be

delayed for very long. In 305

Diocletian voluntarily abdicated. His re-formed em64-67


pire,

lacking any integrating force such as Chris-

tianity

might have provided, barely survived him.

By 311

there were four rulers claiming the

emperor.

One

title

of them, stationed in the West,

of

in

province which became the

Moesia,

home

Diocletian's governors in the


of the

up

the

true

mother

who

reputedly found and dug

sia

Nicomedia and
and Egypt.

later

When

tine joined his father in Britain. There, as a

general in the
successor,

Roman

young

army, he became his father's

and was acclaimed Augustus by

his

as

the

state

A PERIOD OF RESPITE gives the followworship once more.

RENEWED PUNISHMENTS,

including

and death, are directed

clergy as propagators of

249-251

AN EMPIRE-WIDE DRIVE
tians

260-303

is

303-311

faith.

against Chris-

A SECOND RESPITE

under Callienus
live

CHURCH-BURNINGS mark

unharmed.
the

the great anti-Christian

311-

the

at

the

ordered by Emperor Decius.

permits worshipers to

served in the army in PerDiocletian retired, Constan-

burning stake.

EXECUTIONS INCREASE

exile

Cross of Christ in Palestine. As a

youth, Constantine was sent to Diocletian's court


at

235-238

of

later be-

his

at the

ers the right to

Helena, a Christian lady and

later St.

former serving maid

was one

West and

Western co-emperors;

and

and

stigmatizes Christianity as a crime.

Roman

the

of the Serbs

the Bulgars. His father Constantius

was Helena,

110-210

225-235

Constantine was born

came one

the arena

was

Constantine.

ACCUSED BY NERO of burning Rome,


Christians are sentenced to death in

last

of

campaigns.

CALERIU5 EDICT gives Christians the


right to practice
to rebuild their

their

religion

and

churches unmolested.

own

troops on his father's death in 306.


17

Six years later Constantine defeated Maxentius,

co-emperor in the West, after

his

a briUiant

cam-

the Empire confronted

miesthe Germanic

massed along the Dan-

paign that brought him to the outskirts of Rome.

ube and the Persians in Anatolia. There,

After reportedly seeing a heavenly vision during

main trade routes converged; and

campaign, Constantine declared his preference

this

for Christianity.

One

year after his victory over

mum, and

in

323 came his

feated and captured

final

other Eastern Emperor,

the

Licinius, after a struggle into

threw

their strength.

all

triumph; he de-

which both

Constantine was

parties

left sole

now

with the task of arresting the disin-

tegration of the Empire, and of welding

geneous parts into

made two major

its

homo-

durable whole, Constantine

Among

were those of other

religions,

Constantine himself,

to

do

and Christian holy

for bricks

who had

festi-

a typically

and mortar,

likewise.

He had

built

become

ci-

if

he did not

or

tral,

commitment. Either he thought

it

ex-

as well be

saved for the

last

moment,

Constantine's other important decision was to


the Empire's capital from

birthplace in

what

is

was Naissus, Constantine's

now

Serbia;

was Ni-

there

Anatolian frontier Diocletian had magnified by the


construction of several imperial buildings;

was Sardica (Sophia), already

there

bustling center of

on the way from central Europe

ited

by

of the

St. Paul,

Empire

and

in

Black
vis-

commerce

a city vital to the

the eastern Mediterranean.

these Constantine considered for his


city,

to the

and ultimately

new

All

imperial

rejected.

His thoughts also turned to Troy, ancient Ilium,


scene of the epic battle between the Greeks and

Trojans immortalized

by Homer. Journeying

Minor he declared

that honored site in Asia

to
it

Rome,

the scene

walls and ordered

workmen

to

begin construction

at once. But, as the story goes, the

under way, and the gates

in the

work was

well

main wall had

al-

when one night God appeared


to the Emperor and commanded that he seek out
yet another site for the new Rome.
ready been hung,

Whether by divine

intervention, or

simply by

and counterplot, treason and conspiracy.

completing his process of selection, the Emperor

the north and west the Empire's provincial cap-

ultimately passed over Troy and chose Byzantium,

of plot

To

several churches. There

of

legend, he personally laid out the lines of the city

so that he might leave the world with a clean slate.

move

which Constantine authorized the building

in

was apparently not from want

he thought that baptism's remission of

might

of

capital

a Christian himself until just be-

pedient for the Emperor to remain officially neu-

sins

was Jerusalem, scene

proper location for his future capital. According to

fore his death, this

of spiritual

Ro-

many

children in-

his

structed in the Christian faith, and


actually

cities

and resurrection, an ancient

Sea; and there was Thessalonica (Salonika),

churches and encouraged bishops and wealthy


vilians

these

Christ's death

trade

were allowed the same tax exemption as

man enthusiasm

most important centers of the

the

Christian religion.

he assured Chris-

days were honored as respectfully as pagan


vals.

finally,

Empire. Christian

decisions. First,

tianity legal status within the


priests

of

the

too,

there,

comedia, whose importance as a citadel on the

Emperor of Rome.
Faced

some

lay

Maxentius he defeated the Eastern Emperor, Maxi-

itals

were too remote and uncivilized

suitable nerve centers for the vast

to

serve as

Roman

realm,

but to the east lay an urban civilization older and


richer than Rome's.
18

most formidable ene-

its

tribes

It

was

also

to

the east that

a small trading

town on

a magnificently

site jutting into the sea of

the

Marmara.

most momentous decisions

Western

civilization.

in

It

strategic

was one

of

the history of

IN

A DRtAM

told to fight

Cl^

under the Cross; when he did so (below) and won,

Christian nation.

last

direct heir

its

base

a statue of

column

Athena and baskets

Throughout

classical heritage

and

to

the

Roman Empire and

the

its

Christianity.

first

dual nature was dramatized by Constantine himself,

Its

founding emperor, when he erected

disciples.

A HERITAGE

PRESERVING
Byzantium was both the

ht

in

its

Constantinople and enclosed

in

have held the bread Christ fed

his

long history, Byzantium remained faithful both to

its

said to

to its Christian precepts.

philosophy and recited Homer, but

it

The

imperial court discussed Greek

also sent missionaries to the Near East

and converted the Russians. The Byzantines systematized

Roman

law

and

patterned their Senate after Rome's, yet supported hundreds of monasteries and

sought the

Ducas

political advice of mystics. Typically, the

styled herself

"Empress of the

11th Century ruler Irene

Romans faithful

in Christ

our Lord."
19

t^^^O

*
;-'^/

il

-*.#

^:*

:^1M

^tP^'

JUSTINIAN THE JURIST stands with churchmen and

officials

of his court during

THE CODIFICATION
OF ROMAN LAW

One

'

Communion

service.

Though

a powerful autocrat, Justinian believed that

of the greatest Byzantine contributions to

ilization

of

II'

V' ^n

was the

Roman

a vast

law.

body of

clarification

The Romans had bequeathed to Byzantium


opinion that was frequently antiquated

this tangled collection to a

A.D. he appointed

Century Emperor,

coherent system. In 528

commission of 10 men who

the constitutions written

classified

by various Roman emperors

single code of 4,652 laws.

20

civ-

legal

or contradictory. Justinian, the great Sixth

reduced

Western

and transmission of the essence

into a

Another commission produced

V'

'^ L

U/t.V

f^>

^' iV.\

'^*

o|ic\^t\(\|U\iiiuruii'iiMi\^it]rUxm\v>iiciircoubtciu

^
,

huvVccul iXccuii^uumxHJo rfvv'


nxowiJroiVibr.fVxoriTXovvcmojxcicV.io-xd.nMUOiiiNUiAiuac^n/vn

'

boc'cj^Lcitii'Auiacnxpfioiuu

Txu\mnKCiorriocriOcHivviur(i^\>w^MiVNOui|iocxOvl,.x/^.Vh'ut|vo^[:p^^

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MllU\ll^.^^^u.Ml\un^aiAuA.iVlvlnv.va^nvPU|^J:T,^^o^\IvxOOvVHU'mJ.
x.^vxdv\ohiiCoovPoHa>xiu|Xria
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ruK:^'^XMa.>i[4rxi'cauiKfXv\o%'
^

imperial authority should submit to law.

AN INTRODUCTION

to a Sixth

Century version of Justinian's code summarizes the virtues of the new system.

50-volume digest of major decisions that had been handed

far sterner than its predecessor.

down by

first

time

who

varied from

authoritative jurists in the Second and Third Cen-

turies, the

golden age of

In civil law, the

it

easier, for

law.

new system was more

sive than the ancient

made

Roman

Roman

statutes

it

efficient

example, to free slaves and to

also guaranteed the inheritance rights of

the absolute

power of fathers over the

and progres-

supplanted. Justinian
sell

land.

He

widows and reduced

lives of their children.

In the area of criminal law, however, the

new system was

office

made crimes out


Orthodox

and denied

was

jurists for the

and seduction. Heretics

of heresy

practice were barred from holding

their inheritance.

cally executed, as
if

The Christian

his victim

if

seducer was automati-

she willingly submitted;

the girl's chaperone encouraged the alliance, molten lead

was poured

in her

Justinian's code
as the

mouth. Despite such barbaric provisions,

was so

model for the

clear

legal

and consistent that

it

later

served

systems of most European nations.

AN ARCHITECTURAL PROTOTYPE,

Constantinople's Church of the Holy Apostles

(seen here in a 12th Century illumination) inspired Venice's

Church of

St.

Mark.

THE SWEEPING EFFECT


OF BYZANTINE ART
In the realm of art,

Byzantium served both

curator and as an innovator.

served

many

sculpture, such as the


(right).

As

Naples and virtually an entire Byzantine

pre-

Venice.

Greek and Roman

Greek horses of gilded bronze

innovators, they developed a style of

religious art

and architecture that influenced every

nation they encountered. In

22

The Byzantines

of the glories of

as a

Italy,

which was part

ied

The Bulgarians and Serbians

city in

carefully cop-

well-known Byzantine churches and palaces,

and the Russians

laid

out important towns in imi-

tation of Constantinople.

The

Persians

respected

much that one of their rulers


new palace when an envoy from

Byzantine taste so
pulled

down

his

emperor remarked of the building, "The up-

of the Eastern empire until the Seventh Century,

the

they built churches in Rome, Milan, Ravenna and

per part will do for birds and the lower for rats."

A MOSAIC
shows

FN ST.

MARKS, depicting

obvious debt

its

The churchmen and


ics

of

St.

to its

the exterior of the church,

Byzantine model (far

left).

citizens in front are honoring the rel-

Mark, being borne

aloft in the coffin at center.

SCULPTURED HORSES, which once adorned Constantinople's


Hippodrome, now stand

in front of St.

Mark's. The horses

were the pride of the Byzantine capital until the IJth Century,

when Crusaders

carried

them

off to

Western Europe.

23

^^-

RELICS OF

A NATION RULED

The Byzantines regarded themselves

as the

chosen

people of God. Their capital of Constantinople was


filled

with holy

sion and

relics of the saints

was dedicated

and of the Pas-

to the Virgin,

whom

the peo-

ple revered as the city's spiritual guardian against


all

enemies. In the Imperial Palace the Four Gospels

were placed on an empty throne as


living presence of
rule
24

by divine

right

symbol of the

God. The emperor claimed

and

to serve as the

to

spokesman

BY CHRIST

of Heaven's will; at his coronation a chorus sang,

"Glory

to

atize his
pit

God who made you emperor." To dramrole,

he occasionally mounted the pul-

and preached

sermon

ways portrayed him


his head.

But the

in

state,

under the Cross, kept


trait

to the court. Artists al-

mosaics with a halo around

its

founded by Constantine
perspective: Christ's por-

was engraved on Byzantine coins and stamped

with the motto, "Jesus Christ, King of Rulers."

fthki

..^

Si

THREE PILGRIMS marvel


relics

of Christ's

at

AV
lh^

purported

'

Passion prized by

churches in Constantinople.

In

'

'ft'-

'i

''ft

^m

v>[if

MVA/!n\4l

the

church at the center are two nails and


the spear that pierced Christ's side;
at the right

is

the

Crown

of Thorns.

^ JJ
.^Ml^v

.*-

x\
^

A JEWELED CROSS, which was presented


by the Emperor Justin
can

in the Sixth

II to

the Vati-

Century, contains

in

center medallion a splinter

that

the Byzantines believed to have

come

its

from the Cross of Christ

in Jerusalem.

25

A COMMUNITY OF MONKS works and meditates

in cave dwellings in Syria.

RIGOROUS TRADITIONS
OF MONASTIC

LIFE

HOLY GROTTOES, once

the

home

of Byzantine ascetics,

Monastic orders and Christian mysticism flourished


Byzantine world.
find

it,

"

"He who

loses his

Christ had taught, and early

faithfully.

The

first

life

for

monks

famous monk was

Century hermit who shut himself up


26

honeycomb

St.

in a

My

in

interpreted

Anthony,

tomb

the

sake will

Him

Fourth

for 20 years

the crags

i'^-

*.*-

that rise

up

eerily out of the plain in

in

Egypt (which was part of the empire until 650). His aus-

example was followed by other hermits, who flocked

him

to

form the

first

to

monastic community. Soon monasticism

spread over Asia Minor and Greece, and by the Fifth Century
it

had taken root

in

''-*

Cappadocia. The region, part of present-day Turkey, was the

tere

Western

Europ)e. Lives of great

monks

^R^

first

place in Asia

Minor where Orthodox monks

became the most widely read books

in

lived.

Byzantium, and by the

middle of the Sixth Century there were 85 monasteries in Constantinople alone. Living in

cities, in

caves, in deserts and

on

remote islands, these followers of Christ SF>oke out fearlessly


for their principles

and served

as the conscience of the empire.

27

UlTElBAmAHAJUIAKfJtcOrl'tllHliAl

A'liHAk'Mt<|>OTMli^rHAaIuiirEf*lin>
BYZANTINE MISSIONARIES, witnessed by
Bulgaria, baptize a convert in

the

King and Queen of

an illumination from a Slavic

text.

PASSING CIVILIZATION

TO THE WORLD
In the view of
est

many

historians,

Byzantium's great-

achievement was the civiHzing influence

it

ex-

it encountered. As early as
monks from Constantinople

erted over the peoples


the Sixth Century,

were seeking

Nubia

in

to

penetrate such distant places as

southern Egypt. But perhaps the Byzan-

tines' greatest success as missionaries of Christiani-

ty

and

civilization

came 300 years

later in the Slavic

regions of Eastern Europe.


In 863 the King of Moravia asked the Emperor

Michael

III

for a

who

teacher

could preach the

Christian faith to his subjects in their

guage.

Byzantine

monk named

own

lan-

Cyril evolved a

Slavic alphabet and set out to convert the Moravians.

Although

his attempts with

followers succeeded

among

them

failed,

his

By

the

the Bulgarians.

10th Century other countries, including

had joined the Orthodox

fold,

and

Russia,

Cyril's written

language eventually became, in modified forms, the


basis for the culture of the entire

Slavic

world.
A FRESCO IN NUBIA, from one of 60 churches that were built there by Byzantine

28

architects,

shows the archangel Michael holding a

cross

and spreading

his

peacock wings

to protect

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the

fiery furnace.

29

Nearly
ed to

thousand years before Constantine decid-

make

new

his

in the East, a

northeast from

He

Aegean.

capital a Christian city located

Greek colonizer named Byzas

home

his

passed the

Then he came

between

CONSTANTINE'S CITY

to the

hills to

for

some 17 miles

double range of shrub-covered and rocky

emerge, at

Before he set

where

cle

the

then sailed

entrance of the Bosporus,

narrow channel that winds

the

of Troy,

and across the Sea of Marma-

into the Dardanelles


ra.

Megara across

at

site

sailed

into the Black Sea.

last,

Byzas asked the Delphic Ora-

sail,

new

to establish his

usual ambiguous

colonial city. In

manner, the Oracle

its

him:

told

"Opposite the blind." Only when he reached the


Bosporus did Byzas

what

realize

the Oracle meant:

on the Asiatic shore, opposite the

hill-tipped,

tri-

angular peninsula that terminated the European


land

mass,

founded

Greek colonists had already

earlier

a city,

Chalcedon.

have been blind not

It

was they who must

have noticed the obvious

to

away

superiority of the site lying half a mile or so

on the opposite shore.


founded

his

own

him. Byzantium

Rome, but
ple,

city,

was

Great made

tine the

on

it

later

it

it

was here

which took
to

The

name from

called

it

New

as Constantino-

name was

modern appellation

to live

of the im-

which Constantine established.

City of Constantine stood on a beautiful

had natural defenses and commercial ad-

site that

vantages.

It

from Russia
route,

He

his capital.

City of Constantine. Byzas'

perial civilization

its

Byzas

that

be called until Constan-

became known

in history as the

the

It

dominated the north-south sea route


to

the

Mediterranean.

Along

this

from the ports of southern Russia and from

Danube, across the Black Sea, and through the

Bosporus, ships would carry corn and furs, caviar

and

honey and

salt,

gold,

wax and

slaves.

From

the

south, from the rich gardens of Anatolia and granaries of

Egypt would come food

to feed the city's

growing population.
Constantinople stood where the land routes from
Asia to Eastern Europe found their narrowest sea
crossing.

So

to

and through Constantinople, from

places as distant as India, Ceylon and China,

would

be carried ivory and amber, porcelain and precious


EMPEROR AND BUILDER, a haloed Constantine holds a symbolic model of the
city he dedicated in 330 A.D. He enclosed vast tracts of empty land within its walls,

but by 413 Constantinople's boundaries had to be enlarged.

stones, silks

mon and

and damask; aloes and balsam, cinna-

sugar,

musk and

ginger,

and many other


31

Mercut

Sugar

Iron
Silver

^Basra

Ormuz

'*

..*

PERSIAN

CVLF

Gold
Ivory
Slaves
Spices

Adulis

BYZANTIUM

TRADE ROUTES /inked

three corjtinents in a

network

of caravan tracks, rivers, seaways and Roman-style paved roads.

The empire controlled only a part of these


merchants imported products from as
opia, northern Russia, Ceylon

goods passed through

far

routes, yet Byzantine

away

and China. Even

many hands

as Iceland, Ethi-

in

times of peace,

along the way.

spices from the Indies, for example, required Persian


sinian

32

dhows

to transport

it

cargo of

and Abys-

across the Indian Ocean, Byzantine

merchantmen
caravan
take

it

to

to carry

bring
it

it

up

the

Red Sea

'

to ]otabe

overland to Alexandria, and

still

and Suez, a

other ships to

across the Mediterranean. The center of almost all com-

merce was Constantinople, which prospered by receiving, refining

and re-exporting the goods


tually,

that passed through

however, Moslem invasions disrupted

its

markets. Even-

many of Byzantium's

lifelinesand after the empire fell Portuguese explorers succeeded


in charting

an easier all-sea passage around Africa

to the Orient.

city lay other

where grapes and grains

fertile districts

flourished,

and the waters of the Bosporus and the Sea of

Marmara, which lapped


teemed with

the

at

shoreline,

city's

fish.

The defenses

bestowed on the

that nature

city

were impressive. To the south stretched the Sea of

Marmara, and almost


Sandalwood

at the

porus flowed into this sea

point where the Bos-

narrow

inlet leads

along

Spices

Herbs

the northern shore of the triangular peninsula

form

landlocked harbor. This

a perfect

en Horn, named for

Spices

shape and the wealth that

As

the Sixth Century Byzantine writer Procopius

Horn

the city's honor.


fall

docks.

always calm, being made by

"is

and the surge was shut out

upon

And

in

in

when harsh winds

winter

the sea and the strait (the Bosporus], as

soon as ships reach the bay's entrance, they can


proceed without pilot and moor
Jaffna

Pepper
,

MALABAR

ARABIAN

Jewels

bay

U T t

about

is

bor, so that
rides

SEA

Yet RO

its

Caliana

Copper

S P

on

of the world deposited

nature never to be stormy, as though limits were

,'

BAY OF
BENGAL
^o*;-.

to

the Gold-

commerce

set to the billows


Daibul>

its

is

the

observed, the

..-'V
,*.'L\
"o

haia

and medicaments. West of the

spices

the
to

five miles

when

of

is

it

on

rests

a har-

land, as

if

rivaled each other in their desire

be of greatest service to the city

When

Constantine decided

from Rome, he also decided


tal

all

ship anchors there the stern

on the sea while the prow

two elements

The whole

easily.

long and

another Rome,

if

"

move the capital


make his new capi-

to

to

more magnificent

possible

than the old one. Like Rome, Constantinople was

INDIAN

OCEAN

'city of the

was divided

seven

hills,

Troy

to

capital

like

From

the sacred

Rome

the city

Rome

the old

talisman of

the

Empire, the Palladium, the wooden statue

of Pallas
the sky

and

into 14 districts.

Constantine brought

Roman

"

Athena believed

and

to

Italy.

to

have dropped from

have been carried by Aeneas from

He

members

senatorial class,

also brought

from the ancient

of noble families to

form

and he established them

new

in

fine

houses.
33

The main

imperial buildings were constructed

on Roman models. All the statues and other works


hands on he

of ancient art Constantine could lay

Among them

transferred to his city.

were such

masterpieces as the so-called Calydonian boar and

column from Delphi on which had

the serpentine

been inscribed the names of the Greek

which

cities

defeated the Persians at Plateia in 479 B.C.


In one vital respect, Constantinople

imitation of old

Rome,

for

it

was

to

Wisdom) and completed


Church of the Holy

phia (the Church of Holy

many

others, including the

Apostles.

At

tombs of the

the

latter,

the

12 symbolic

later

his

new

city

emblems such

At another church dedicated


belt, a relic that

had produced

At times of great

peril,

Constantine introduced

as crosses

and

relics

of

new
Noah was supposed to
spikenard with which Mary
have anointed the

at the center of a

feet of

at the foot of a

six large

huge

drums

laurel leaves,

magnificent elliptical

forum, paved with marble and surrounded with


colonnades. This was the

Over

the years,

Forum

of Constantine.

monuments, memorials and holy

objects connected with the Christian faith multiplied

throughout the

cifically associated

city.

great

with the Virgin

many were speMary, who was

considered to be the city's special protectress.

would not
ing,

find

"You

any public place or imperial dwell-

no reputable inn or private house of those

in

authority where there was not a church or an oratory of the

Mother

of

God,"

it

was

later said

by

student of the period. In a church at the northwest


34

lay her

a host of miracles.

many

sieges the

and icons of the Virgin

when

Russians in 860,

the city

was deprived

of

all

siege.

"Truly," a contemporary witness, the Patriarch

porphyry carved with encircling

up

Mary

and battlements, and the Russians abandoned the

column. This column, made up of

set

dis-

to

emperors were buried,

Christ Constantine immured

was

it

played a most vital part. During an attack by the

Photius, wrote, "is this most holy garment the robe


of God's

Mother!

it

of

miracu-

which,

a veil

to

such as the

city endured, these relics

foes inexplicably

said to

at

image beneath.

faith the adze with which

Magdalen was

by

sometimes mysteriously parted

said,

the saints. Other objects connected with the

have built the ark, the

was

(457-474). Here too

lous icon of the Virgin, covered

"the equal of the apostles."

Throughout

which had

Constantinople from Palestine

to

the time of Leo

known

hope, the Virgin's robe was carried round the walls

the Byzantine emperors were regarded as

Christian

the city's relics, the Virgin's robe,

all

was

site

most precious

of the

tomb his

apostles, he placed a 13th

own. Here also many


for all

among

of

been brought

was not an

be a Christian

was kept one

as Blachernae,

close the

Constantine began the building of Hagia So-

city.

extremity of the landward walls, on a

around

itself,

broken up as
with

it,

It

embraced the

showed

walls,

and the

their backs; the city

put

and the camp of the enemy was

at a signal;

the city bedecked itself

and the enemy were deprived of the hopes

that bore

them

on. For immediately as the Virgin's

robe went round the walls, the barbarians gave


the siege and broke camp, while

we were

up

delivered

from impending capture and were granted unexpected salvation."


Relics were brought to the capital

from

They reposed

of the Christian world.

all

parts

in churches,

sanctuaries and shrines, encased in gold and silver,

ornamented with precious stones, often wrapped


in a cloth of silk.

reliquary.

The

city

became an enormous

Here was the linen worn by the Infant

Jesus, here

was the blood-covered mantle worn by

Christ on the Cross, the lance that pierced His side,


the

Crown

of Thorns,

and the stone of the Tomb;

here reposed the venerated relics of the Apostles


St.

Luke and

St.

Andrew, and

of St. Paul's

compan-

A REVERED

men

at

RELIC, contained in a casket held by the

left,

people look on. The scene

thought

itself

ion, St.

The

to

is

on a Sixth Century ivory plaque,

have been part of a Byzantine reliquary casket.

Timothy, and the head of John the Baptist.


official

11, 330, the

day

two church-

carried in a procession through the city as the

IS

beginning of

day of the

all this

May

dates from

city's inauguration.

On

that

Apollo the head of which had been

a statue of

replaced by a head of Constantine was hoisted to

column

the top of the

in

of Constantine-Apollo, bearing in

scepter and in

hand

its left

The

the Forum.
its

right

statue

hand

a globe representing the

world, survived until the opening years of the 12th

Century,

by

when

it

fell in a

storm and was replaced

of

Using marble brought from islands

Marmara, and wood from

built

later

two

included

list

among

theaters, eight

earlier),

compiled

little

over

century or so

the city's edifices at the time

public and 153 private baths

(including the famous

begun

Sea

Hippodrome, which

by Septimus Severus

a century before.

in the

the forests bordering

the Black Sea, he enlarged the

had been

4,388 houses of sufficient size to be recorded.

Under the pressure

of the

growing populace, the

area of the city swelled to take in another slice of

land stretching between the Golden

Horn and

Sea of Marmara. In the Fifth Century,


this

enlargement on the landward

Their remains can

still

huge

side, a

ple line of walls, three miles in length,

Baths of Zeuxippus, also

52 porticoes,

five granaries,

eight

the

defend

to

was

tri-

built.

be seen. Earlier walls had

been built along the shore of the Sea of Marmara

and along the Golden Horn, so that the

golden cross.

Constantine's building activities were formidable.

aqueducts or cisterns, 14 churches, 14 palaces, and

came

virtually

The

an enclosed

city be-

fortress.

greatest change in the physical appearance

of Constantinople took place in the Sixth Century,

when some

of the greatest architectural glories of

the Byzantine world were built under the


Justinian.

The opportunity, and

great spate of building


riots

followed by a

fire

was provided
that

and razed half the original


of the

Emperor

necessity,

burned

city to the

in

for

532 by

for five

ground.

days

Many

main public buildings erected by Constantine


35

and

his successors including the central church,

mon

Hagia Sophia were destroyed.


Justinian rapidly had the rubble and charred re-

mains of gutted buildings cleared away.

and Anthemius of Tralles were two of

most important he

the

seemed

Summon-

find Isidore

ing the greatest architects he could


of Miletus

like

set

to

superhuman energy

work with what


to repair the

dam-

age. Justinian set the seal of imperial magnificence

on the

city.

He completely

reconstructed Hagia So-

phia and undertook a vast public building program.

made

Later emperors

such

further contributions,

man or

to see a

zontal from the

even

waist

strapped to his back.


simpler to hire a
to

man

job.

The

call

of peddlers offering

house

was

as Justinian left

ture

by the Turks

That the

down

the

The houses

idential quarters.

of the very rich were

homes

raised

by sheer labor

in its

is

travelers.

"O

tain

to ex-

to

broadways and

lared

tell

streets,

of the

it

abundance of

silver,

garments of

relics.

Ships are

putting in at this port, so that there

men want

amount

the wealthy

that

is

not brought hith-

The

court invariably had a foun-

and was often elaborately landscaped. Main-

of these

good things; of gold and of

nothing that

certain

tained by staffs of slaves and servants, the interiors

"how stately, how fair,


how many palaces

manifold fashion, and such sacred


at all times

interior courtyard.

of art, marvelous to behold;

would be wearisome

was achieved by

because their houses presented a largely blank stone

we

monasteries therein,

how many works


all

of later

Fulk of Chartres was

claim in the 11th Century,

of privacy, however,

of the middle class

wall to the street while the rooms opened out on an

comments

a splendid city,"

how many

to the time of its cap-

in 1453.

city presented a spectacular sight

know from
what

it

and fresh

Constantinople had no distinctly fashionable res-

or even the shelters of the poor.

the city

features,

were

who went from

selling bread, vegetables

other church, embellishing a forum, laying out a

main

streets too

fish.

often flanked by modest

its

something than

to transport

with the singsong

to

heavy load

was often cheaper and

various commodities and merchants

house

was com-

It

child bent over hori-

support

to
It

have an animal do the

filled

as enlarging the imperial palace, erecting yet an-

public garden. But in

mansions boasted

splendor of gold-plated

and ivory-inlaid furniture, gilded

ceilings

and

Moderately well-off citizens

halls.

lived in two-story

wooden

usually

buildings that supported

balconies from which matrons and cloistered


girls

could view the bustle of the

crowded

basement rooms or

in

visitor,

Odon

the

city.

young

The poor

street.

in

tenements spread throughout the


French

pil-

clumps of

As another

de Deuil, wryly commented,

Golden Horn was the an-

"the rich cover the public ways with their con-

chorage for barks of Dalmatians or Croats, caiques

structions and leave the sewers and dark places to

er."

At

that period, the

from the Greek

islands, the high galleys of

Venice or Amalfi, light feluccas from the


the big

dromonds

Genoa,

east,

and

of the imperial Byzantine fleet,

equipped with tubes for projecting the mysterious

"Greek

fire,"

the secret

weapon

of the Byzantines.

Inside the great walls surrounding the city were


a

few thoroughfares and

streets.

Many of

a sizable cart

36

camels, mules, or on the backs of men.

dense tangle of narrow

these lanes could not

accommodate

and so goods were usually carried by

the poor
ders,

and

strangers.

robberies,

obscurity.

and

There are committed murthe crimes

all

which haunt

."
.

For even the poor, however, the supply of fresh

water so important

was

plentiful.

in

Mediterranean climate-

Channeled into the

aqueducts from the surrounding


stored in

these

it

many open and

was piped

to

city

hills,

through

water was

covered cisterns. From

fountains at street corners and

and was available

in the public squares,

to

everyone

without charge. Sewage and waste water were car-

away from

ried

down

the houses and

into the sea

through an intricate system of underground drains.

The

women
care

had many public baths, open

city

who

men and

and medical and hospital

at different times,

was provided by the government and

to those

to

the

Church

could not afford to pay. Despite these

But apart from the cosmopolitan background of

and

residents, the city, as a prosperous seaport

its

drew

the capital of the world's largest empire,

manner

of visitors from afar.

From

all

Spain

Britain,

and Gaul, from Scandinavia and Russia, from Persia,

Arabia and Africa came a host of merchants,


diplomats and travelers. Mingling

sailors,

in

the

with the more simply garbed Byzantines,

streets

precautions, however, disease spread quickly and

these visitors, with their exotic dress brightly col-

always took

ored cloaks, furs, strange headdresses and

The main

a terrible toll.

street of

landward walls

in the

the city, running from the

unfamiliar tongues, would attract considerable at-

west almost

to the gates of

tention.

Mese, or Mid-

slaves, often prisoners taken in war,

the Imperial Palace,

was

dle Street. Bordered

by columned porticoes and

terrupted by

called the

monumental squares containing

statues of emperors and empresses,

it

was the

in-

regal

the Mese. Here too were

many

of the fine shops of

the products of Byzantium's

piled with

luxury industries: silks and brocades, copper and

On

tary in a

their stalls,
it,

may

at the

waft upward

and

'the

so that, as a

sweet perfumes

same time perme-

In this street too could best be observed some-

thing of the variety of the city's population, esti-

mated

to

Justinian.

have totaled some 600,000

The

inhabitants

made up

Baths of Zeuxippus, where smart society

the Ninth Century,

boast pure Greek or

Armenians and Goths.

few of the residents could

Roman

lineage;

exchange the

to

new

women

clothes and jewel-

latest gossip.

On

national

holidays and religious celebrations, the whole city

would turn out

to

watch the magnificent procession

of the emperior and his court,

accompanied by the

Many

in the

throng of

spectators could be recognized by the type of clothing they

wore:

philosophers usually wore gray,

of bright scarlet with their hair confined close to

baned Persians, Jews from Palestine and Syrians

By

to

off their

thoroughly

docia and Phrygia, close-cropped Bulgars and tur-

Illyrians,

and

show

to the

physicians wore blue and ascetics dressed in robes

cosmopolitan group. There were natives of Cappa-

from Damascus,

would be on her way

time of

at the

likely she

patriarch and his attendants.

ate the vestibule of the Imperial Palace."

would go by on

silk

ing in a brightly decorated carriage pulled by mules.

ry

perfumers had

costume of brocaded

More than
convened

ace, the

who performed

horseback, or a well-to-do lady would pass, reclin-

Where

contemporary source had

many

Occasionally, on the main street, a court digni-

goldwork, leather and glass, jewels and reliquaries.


the street ended, close to the Imperial Pal-

the streets too could be seen the

the menial tasks in Byzantium.

the

highway. All major imperial processions followed

the city,

their

most

had

their

head by

The

life

a net.

of the city

was centered around three

great structures or groups of buildings the

Hippo-

drome, the Sacred Imperial Palace, and the Church


of Hagia Sophia.

They represented

the three

constituents of the Byzantine world:

main

the people,

sprung from an amalgam of the many peoples the

the imperial authority and the religion. Appropri-

Byzantine empire comprised. The

ately, they

criteria for citi-

were located close together on the cen-

tableland and the southern and eastern slopes

zenship were simply the use of Greek in everyday

tral

speech and membership in the Orthodox Church.

of the

promontory on which the

city stood.

Here
37

they enclosed on three sides the nnain public square,


the

Augustaeum, an open rectangular court paved

with slabs of dark marble and encircled by

colon-

nade. Here an emperor-to-be was raised aloft on a

and acclaimed by

shield
lace

on

his

way

Here stood

Emperor

Hagia Sophia.

to the coronation in

huge bronze equestrian statue of the

what was known

Justinian, clothed in

Achilles'

and the popu-

his nobles

armor, wearing

carrying a globe in his

Procopius wrote, that

as

the earth and the sea were

as enlarged

by Constantine,

barrier with three cones at each

still

the

at

One

art.

of

these

Hippodrome

in Egypt.

in

Put

390 A.D.,

it

stands on a base with a bas-relief showing the

emperor and

his family in the royal

box

at

the

games.

Also

standing

the

is

so-called

obelisk

with plates of bronze decorated with bas-reliefs,

now only a tall, thin shaft of


monument which adorned

third

which something

still

remains

is

of

Once covered

Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus.

is

bare masonry.
the spina

was entered through

bule. This vestibule

gilded bronze.

monumental

was known
its

Its ceilings,

as the

Brazen En-

as reconstructed

and further renovated

in the

by Jus-

Ninth Century,
Justini-

an's great general, Belisarius, returning victoriously


to Constantinople.

with

The

walls and floors were dressed

and white, broken

fine marbles: emerald, red

with undulating lines of blue.

Behind the Chalke lay the

rambling palace

vast,

and southeast down the

itself,

stretching south

woody

slopes of the promontory to the Sea of

mara and the Bosporus.

Mar-

consisted of various

It

groups of buildings interspersed with gardens,

tains, a private

polo ground,

summer

stadium, an indoor riding school,

swimming

pools and

quarters, guardrooms, dungeons.

One

of the

ter-

pavilions, churches, foun-

were also storerooms, kitchens,

and of

em-

vesti-

roof and doors were of

it

the bronze ser-

lily

ponds. There

stables, servants'

most astonishing of the buildings was

the Chrysotriclinos, the hall of gold. This

was one

pentine column brought from Delphi by Constan-

of the emperor's throne rooms. The throne was

tine the Great. Originally

set in

it

consisted of three en-

twined serpents whose heads supported


tripod.

Today only about 18

was probably

At

column

of

feet

some 26

the northeast end of the

golden

remains of what

Hippodrome, which

stood the imperial box, the kathisma.


the

an apse; above

it

was an image

From here

emperor and the high dignitaries of the court

of Christ

it hung a
woven with gold and ornamented with

enthroned, and before

stones. Elsewhere in this hall

feet.

ran along one side of the square of the Augustaeum,

38

It

races, isolated
still

also

opening out onto the square of the Augustaeum lay

were covered with mosaics, some showing

the

end marking the

Karnak

of

and

the east

to

Down

monolithic obelisk of porphyry, which

Temple

Byzan-

arms on some remote border of the empire.

Flanking the Hippodrome

tinian

turning points of the course. Along the top of the


spina rested works of ancient

the

execution of a criminal

was then

it

backbone a low stone

center ran the spina the

into position

at the

or at the official celebration of a victory of

peror.

1,300 feet long and about 490 feet wide.

a tall

games, and presided

tine

her

and the public

races

hand, signifying, as

could seat some 60,000 spectators;

came from

Hippodrome) watched the

trancethe Chalke for

The Hippodrome,

a place of

one of the palace churches overlooking the

the Sacred Imperial Palace, the residence of the

subject to him.

was

in

plumed helmet, and

left

all

who had

(though not the empress,

own

curtain of silk

precious

were other imperial

thrones, a gold and silver banqueting table, couches,

engraved

plates,

crowns, chandeliers, crosses and

imperial vestments.

Another palace was known

as

the

Magnaura.

This contained the famous "throne of Solomon."

Reached by

by golden
branches

and

lions

set

The New
its

six steps,

colonnade

form of

in

Ninth Century with

a basilica,

had

bedchamber was

of verd

The im-

floored with strips of marble

radiating outward from a central

framed

peacock

mag-

which eight columns

antique alternated with eight of red onyx.


perial

their

with jeweled and enameled birds.

Palace, built in the

chief hall in the

nificent

was flanked

this royal seat

trees of gilded bronze,

in mosaic.

medallion that

Four eagles

in

mosaic

stretched their wings at the foot of the four walls.

The lower halves

of the walls were covered with

plaques of multicolored glass and shimmered like a


field

Above

of flowers.

the wainscoting and against

background of gold were mosaic

portraits of

mem-

bers of the imperial family, their hands raised to-

ward the

brilliant

Between

all

green cross on the ceiling.

these buildings and the sea wall at

the bottom of the

hill

lay the imperial

gardens.

Here there were shaded walks and fountains; one


expelled wine through a golden pineapple into a

silverbound basin

Here

ibis,

full of

almonds and

pistachios.

peacocks and pheasants wandered among

shrubs and flowers. Here stood the porphyry or

purple chamber reserved

for the birth of imperial

from which came the

children,

title,

"born

in

the

purple" (Porphyrogenitus), which was conferred on


children of the ruling family. Here too

monumental stairway leading down


or's private harbor, the

was the

to the

emper-

Boucoleon, where the royal

barges and yachts lay alongside marble quays decorated with sculpture.

But not even


palaces,

by the

races or to

carved of ivory, was probably used to start

accompany dancers

in

Constantinople's

glories of the great

as a

church of Hagia Sophia

by Justinian.

museum,

as

It

survives, serving

one of the supreme

artistic

Hippo-

drome. The arena's vigorous amusements are indicated by the


figures of charioteers,

now

the manifold splendors of the

none of which has endured, was exceeded

as reconstructed

AN ORNATE HORN,

all

horsemen, jugglers and trained animals.

expressions of the Christian world. "Glory be to

God, who has thought me worthy

to

finish

this

39

work. Solomon,
is

have outdone thee!" So Justinian

have exclaimed when he

reported to

immense majesty

the

celebrated

first

viewed

of the completed edifice.

dedication in 537 with a banquet at

its

by lamp and candle.

this play of light

hung by

of lamps

long, twisted chains

from the dome and the

of beaten brass

ceilings,

casting their glow on the shimmering gold mosaic

which 6,000 sheep, 1,000 each of oxen, pigs and

of vaults

poultry, and 500 deer were roasted for the delec-

bent surfaces of the colored marble, turning the

and populace

tation of court

No

expense was spared in making this church

and space.

convey

No

very limited idea of

tecture.

is

What perhaps most

it.

the fluid nature of the archi-

which make up the

the walls. Each slab has

own

cause of

its

own

floor

and panel

pattern of veining,

tone and shade, and yet each was cut and

cut again to

make

it

merge with

neighbor. Be-

its

the stones appear as fields of alter-

this,

nating color, mobile strips of

green or

more than

This was achieved through the selection of

the marble slabs

its

light, color

verbal description can do

strikes the viewer

warm

Rows

red.

and arches, playing gently over the lam-

whole church into

alike.

magnificent interplay of stone, marble,

smoky

blue or darkish

of pillars porphyry, verd

beacon of

brilliant

contemporary poet, Paul the

Silentiary, describes

the splendor of the church at night in a long

which he wrote

for

"Thus through

its

light.

poem

dedication:

the spaces of the great church

come

rays of light, expelling clouds of care, and

filling

the

even the

mind with

sailor

ing behind

joy.

The

sacred light cheers

all;

guiding his bark on the waves, leav-

him

the unfriendly billows of the raging

Pontus, and winding a sinuous course amidst creeks

and rocks, with heart fearful

nightly wanderings perhaps he has

and guides

dangers of his

at the

left

the

Aegean

his ship against adverse currents in the

Hellespont, awaiting with

forestay

taut

the on-

antique form the nave and carry the small arches

slaught of a storm from Africa does not guide his

that support the galleries. Larger arches are sur-

laden vessel by the light of Cynosure, or the circling

mounted by half-domes and above them hovers the

Bear, but

great

dome

itself the

dome

of

domes

all

Byzantine world. Seen from below,

it

the

of

gives the im-

pression of hovering in weightless suspense;

Procopius put

masonry but

it,

it

"seems not

to cover the space

suspended from heaven." This

by

the corona of

nice,

to rest

effect

emphasized

is

its

interior cor-

support Hagia Sophia's dome seem

delicate as they soar

do become more

upward toward

the

crown

of

Light

is

by the divine

not only does

it

light of the

church

guide the merchant

one of the essential elements contribut-

from the corona of windows

from lunettes

in the

dome, flooding

in the half-domes,

central nave in radiance.

down

it

steeps the

At night the Byzantines

itself.

Yet

at night, like

the rays of Pharos on the coast of Africa, but


also

shows the way

to the living

Hagia Sophia was the crowning glory of the

which was the


tine world,

pound

capital,

that

of Greece

and the

"queen of

it

God."

heart, of the

cities."

city

Byzan-

Restless

com-

and Rome, of Europe and Asia,

metropolis of commerce and fountainhead of culture,

it

Italian,

drew

to itself

Jew and Moslem, Russian and

Spaniard and Egyptian.

Its

architecture in-

fluenced the ecclesiastical architecture of other historic cities Ravenna, Venice, Kiev,

dome.

ing to the overall effect of the church. Pouring

in

solid

of the powerful in-

less substantial; actually the ribs

the

upon

as

beneath as though

windows above

which makes the bases

terior ribs that

40

He

continued

Thousands

all, it

Moscow. Above

was the center from which Byzantine history

unfolded that record of splendor and corruption,


sophistication and imagery, order and anarchy, of
great victories and petty vanities a history

which

deeply affected the history of the civilized world.

THE TOWER OF GALATA, Constantinople's highest observation point, overlooks the ship-thronged Golden Horn and a skyline dominated hy Hagia Sophia's dome.

A CAPITAL OBSERVED
For 11 centuries Byzantium's capital was a showpiece of

and Christian

piety, a city

where squads of

forums chanting "Christ the Conqueror

"

Roman

planning

city

soldiers paraded through classical

and imperial senators worshiped

in

gilded basilicas. Visitors to the city found masses of classical statuary adorning

public buildings and reported seeing angels hovering over Hagia Sophia's altars.

Though Byzantium's

capital

had

most part Constantinople was


lighting

and

fire

achievements,

share of poverty,

filth

and

injustice, for the

well-run metropolis with free hospitals, street

brigades. But today only scattered glimpses remain of

now

partly buried beneath the streets of

bul. In this essay, following


artist

its

map

its

modern Turkish

civic

Istan-

reconstructing the Byzantine city, the British

Paul Hogarth has sketched impressions of Constantinople in

its

glory.
41

A RICH AND HOLY FORTRESS

rich in repute, and even richer


'^'^,>^foY^^o.^.'^
reality,
declared a hrench pilgnrr
m who visited Constantinople

1147.

As

the

map above

shows, the

city's

in
in

geography contributed gen-

erously to Constantinople's legendary richness. Sprawling across an


easily

defended wedge of

hilly

ground

at the

(see inset map), Constantinople prospered

mouth

of the Bosporus

by controlling the major

caravan routes from China, India and Persia, and the narrow
that funneled into

its

walled harbors

all

the seaborne

traffic

straits

passing

between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.


42

As

the imperial capital and a center of commerce, Constantinople

jte ot Si

Romanus

Gate of Charjsius
Gate of Xvlokerkos
Ji^X^'^"'/*"^"""

Gale of the Blachernae

Gate of

angaria

attracted a polyglot population of Greeks, Bulgars, Khazars, Turks,

Armenians, Jews, Russians and


habitants at

Rome's

its

Italians.

peak the city rivaled

civic structures

With nearly

classical

Rome

million in-

in

size,

remained for centuries the models that

and

buildings, forums, basilicas and


city's

commemorative columns

broad avenues, which converged on a

downtown

Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and the Imperial Palace. As


aqueducts insured the populace of clean water

ground sewers carried

off the city's wastes.

lined

the

center at the
in

Rome,

BOSPORUS

Tiber River, one of Constantinople's 14 dis-

was placed across the Golden Horn

merchants

later

made

their

in

Pera,

where Genoese

homes.

Built to withstand barbarian hordes

in-

spired Constantinople's architects and engineers. Public baths. Senate

Barbara

lower

districts lay across the


tricts

St.

and Moslem armies, Constan-

was the strongest outpost of Christianity in the East. Thirteen


miles of walls and 50 fortified gates made the city a self-contained
fortress, with enormous grain reserves and cisterns to sustain its
inhabitants during sieges. A line of triple walls, watchtowers and
tinople

landward

while walled harbors and

and under-

moat guarded the

Since one of Rome's 14

chain across the Golden Horn protected ships from attacks by sea.

at all times,

city's

side,

The Golden Gate

(left),

reserved for state processior\s, was Constantinople's most

dramatic landward entrance.

Newly crowned emperors and

victorious generals were acclaimed as they passed under

its

triumphal archways. Inside the wall hymn-singing citizens

thronged beneath olive and cypress trees

army

escort

wagons of

treasure and

to

watch the

columns of prisoners

along the flower-strewn Mese, the city

s commercial bouleHippodrome. There captives were sometimes


by offers of land and citizenship rather than exe-

vard, to the
startled

cutionbut only

they renounced their pagan deities.

if

Constantine's Forum (below), dominated by a shaft of porphyry topped with


cross,

was the

largest of the city's six public forums.

emperors celebrated

their

gold

Here

triumphs with victory hymns

and waving banners; here lawyers and merchants met


talk over business, fortunetellers

crowds, aristocratic

women

to

harangued superstitious

arrived in sedan chairs to gos-

sip in the shade of double-tiered arcades.

Other forums

were centers of commerce. The Atropoleum had

bread

market; the Forum of Theodosius served for pig slaughtering;

-y"

and

flocks of

sheep often thronged the Strategion.

Noisy Maze of Tenements (below), often jammed with caravan


forums.

Though

streets, true city

traffic,

surrounded Constantinople's

building codes

the poor. Refuse-heaped alleys


stables, taverns
toll.

demanded 12-foot-wide

planning was a luxury not wasted on

meandered past houses,

and warehouses, and plagues took

But few starved or went homeless. As

many

heavy
as 80,-

000 loaves of bread were distributed daily to the poor, and


monasteries always provided a haven for the hard-pressed.

,M:m
'

k.

it

-i>-

ji^^'r_>

Open-air Bazaars, shaded by canopies (above), displayed everything

from

by

figs to icons.

city officials:

Commerce was

regulated

strictly

linen drapers could not

sell

silks,

fishermen had to register their catch and goldsmiths

were fined for hoarding. Yet the

city's

planned econ-

omy

that

of

nople,
dela,

prospered.
"

"Wealth

like

Constanti-

wrote the widely traveled Benjamin of Tu-

"is

not

to

be

Shoemakers and Leatherworkers,

found

like

in

most

the

of

whole

world.

"

Constantinople's

craftsmen, could set up shops only in streets

and

arcades assigned by the city prefect. Laws regulating trade encouraged specialized skills; leatherworkers, for

example, were forbidden to tan hides. Guilds

set standards, specified

careless.

goods

As

finer

result,

materials,

and punished the

the city's craftsmen produced

than most Western visitors had ever seen.

The Hippodrome:
A Vast Arena
FOR Public Spectacles
Constantinople's Hippodrome, alinost in
the

shadow

of the

dome

of

Hagia Sophia

(glimpsed at far right), provided the city's


Christian populace with virtually
spectacle and violence of

Maximus, on which

Though

eled.

drome was
races,

it

the

all

Rome's Circus

was

mod-

closely

the 1,300-foot-long

Hippo-

originally designed for chariot

changing fashions put

many uses mock

its

arena to

hunts, acrobatics, mys-

tery plays. After the 12th Century, spectators

even witnessed the unusual

sight,

pictured here, of Western jousts in a Ro-

man-style stadium studded with classical

monuments and

decorative columns.

At such events the emperor, guarded by


soldiers, presided

above the arena in his

kathisma, or royal box.

Sometimes

his

presence could turn the Hippodrome into

an enormous civic forum where the people

might protest oppressive


times the

spectators

execution of corrupt
of upheaval

the

Emperor

this

Isaac

taxes;

could

officials.

at

other

witness

the

But in times

same populace which


Angelus compared

to

the violent and unpredictable Calydonian

boar took over the Hippodrome


own. Here the Emperor Andronicus

as
I

its

was

tortured and executed in 1185, and here

during the Nika rebellion in 532 the army


trapped and massacred 30,000 rioting
zens

48

who had

tried to elect a

citi-

new emperor.

St.

Theodore Tyro, with


ble

and

its

domed

chapels of mar-

drew worshipers from a district


Aqueduct of Valens, and its congrega-

brick,

near the

tion shared a typically Byzantine fascination

with theological issues. After Bishop Gregory


of

Nyssa

remarked wryly:

visited the city he

"People swarm everywhere talking of incomprehensible matters.

When

ask

how many

must pay, they reply with minute


distinctions on the Born and the Unborn. I ask
coppers

the servant

if

plies that the

St.

my

bath

is

ready, and he

re-

Son was created from Nothing."

Mary Panachrantos grew

haphazardly over the

centuries from a small chapel into an irregular cluster of separate churches and galleries,
and was ultimately crowned with Turkish cu-

polas. Its architects

lavished

their

skills

on

dramatic interior spaces and mosaics; outside


decorations were

who

left

to imaginative

masons,

spaced out valuable building stone with

friezes

and rosettes of brick

in colored mortar.

Hagia Sophia loomed high over Constantinople's


other churches, and to the faithful

its immense
domes symbolized Christianity's
all-embracing heavens. Over 100 feet across

cascade of

and 180

feet high, the

Great Church's vaulted

interior long surpassed in size all the

churches

of Europe, and
to the blue,

"from earth soaring upward


reached even to the choirs of the

by Justinian in 537, Hagia Sophia


remained the nerve center that ruled the Orthodox Christian world for nine centuries. Al-

stars." Built

though

its

patriarchs were appointed by

the

emperor, they often wielded great influence


of their

own; the most zealous excommunicat-

ed whole communities of heretics. Missionaries

from the Great Church spread Byzantine

culture throughout Eastern Europe and Russia,

until

the

Turks conquered the

city

in

1453 and converted the church into a mosque.

St.

Savior

in

Chora,

originally in the

built

by Justinian

meadows

I,

stood

outside the city, but

Constantinople's rapid growth soon surround-

ed

it

with houses and shops. Gradually

into decay. But

moved

to the

when

the

nearby Blachernae Palace

mid-12th Century,

St.

it

fell

Comnenus dynasty
in the

Savior was restored and

About 150 years later the


was embellished with a blaze of moand frescoes. But by then the emperors

lavishly decorated.
interior

saics

were too poor to spend money on churches


and the work was paid for by a private patron.

w^%

The Boucoleon Palace (below) overlooked the imperial yacht basin and a wharf decorated with statues of lions and other animals. From
this palace, which was one of seven royal residences, stretched a labyrinth of buildings and
gardens that comprised the Imperial Palace complex. Blazing mosaics and marbles made it
a scene of unmatched beauty. Landscaped with pavilions, fountains and fishponds, the
palace had an air of park-like tranquility. But

20,000 citizens worked within

and

priests.

And

in the palace

its

was

it

also a hive of practical activity:

walls as civil servants, entertainers, guards, courtiers

workshops, artisans manufactured

high-grade silks state monopolies whose profits supported

The Palace of Constantine Porphyrogenitus

(right)

was incorporated

into

an angle of the

city's walls, in the

that the Byzantine court occupied after the 12th Century.

fine

many

As

weapons, dyes, and

imperial bureaucrats.

Blachernae palace district


the empire declined, the

court continued to embellish itself with a rich array of ceremonies to underscore the
peror's divinity. Processions

marched back and forth

in a cloud of incense

Em-

between palaces

and churches; more than 30 religious ceremonies every month demanded the Emperor's
participation.

Meals

in the palace imitated the Last Supper,

decapitated for dropping a plate.

As

ruler of the

New

and clumsy servants could be

Jerusalem, the Emperor

owned

symbolic costumes for every occasion at Easter, for example, he commemorated Christ's
52

resurrection by wearing a burial shroud and whitening his face to resemble a corpse.

ri^Kv.^v

**%:i?-

->^

''r

'
<

^
^>JI
i-ir*^!;

tr'

tti ..>

's:ig^

^>M
fl

^ T'
r

^t

iv*^

1.

^1

yj 1

-^

::

''^>i/-i^''^'

During the 1,123 years of


1453 A.

to

its

D Byzantium's

existence from 330

boundaries were con-

tinually in a state of flux. In the age of Justinian, in

the Sixth Century, they extended from Spain in


the west to the plains of

Mesopotamia

in the east,

and from the Black Sea and the Danube

the

in

north to the coastal fringe of Mediterranean Africa


in the south.

During the

decades of the Pa-

last

laeologus dynasty, Byzantium's final

period,

the

empire's borders had shrunk until they embraced

only the city


Actually,

and parts of southern Greece.

itself

it is

impossible to specify any one year

Byzantium. Constantine's desig-

as the birth date of

nation of the city as his capital did not

CHRONICLE
OF AN EMPIRE

once

at

inaugurate a Byzantine empire as distinct from the

Roman. No doubt

the seeds of transformation were

present in Constantine's conversion to Christianity

new

and

in his

rus;

and no doubt Constantine himself possessed an

founding of

capital

on the Bospo-

almost mystical apprehension of the immense change

he was

But

initiating.

in

other respects the

phase of Byzantine history from 330


of Anastasius

tempt

in

518 was

to strengthen

little

to the

first

death

more than an

at-

and defend the old Roman Em-

pire against the forces that threatened

Christianity, meanwhile,

its

was spreading

existence.
its

influ-

ence as the state suppressed paganism with increasing harshness. For a brief period, however, under

Emperor Julian (361-363), an attempt was made

to

turn back the sundial and restore the gods of antiquity. Julian,

though brought up as

was exposed from

a Christian,

early youth to the teachings of

the ancient Greeks,

and became

fervent adherent

of the ancient Hellenistic rites (thus

immortal sobriquet, "the Apostate").

earning an

On

becoming

emperor he strengthened paganism by reorganizing


its

priesthood and by taking part personally in

services, kindling the altar

and inspecting the


for

omens

tempted
tians

them

to

of the future.

tine plaque.

At the same time he

civil

posts and forbidding

teach the works of Homer, Hesiod and the

When

he closed churches,

violence broke out and anarchy threatened.


a soldierly St.

at-

weaken Christianity by removing Chris-

other great pagan writers.


PATRON OF ARMIES,

wielding the knife

entrails of the slaughtered birds

from military and


to

fire,

its

With

George adorns a 12th Century Byzan-

The virtues of such "warrior saints," sanctity and

greatly admired by a holy empire constantly at

war with

its

valor,

were

neighbors.

his

death his successors reversed his policies until

in the

reign of Theodosius

the Great

(379-395)
55

THE CONQUESTS OF JUSTINIAN over the surrounding barbarians virtually doubled his empire. He defeated the Vandals in North Africa
(534), the Ostrogoths in Sicily, Italy

and Dalmatia

(554),

and the

Visigoths in Spain (554), while holding off the Persians and Slavs.

Christianity

During

was designated

as the state religion.

opening period between the Fourth

this

great

his reign that

emperors, Justinian

from the Roman world, began

as distinct

empire largely escaped the disasters that overtook

their definitive form.

the western half as the barbarian invaders swept

and other Roman possessions

West.

in the

Mosaic

was during

It

I.

major aspects of the Byzantine world,

and the early Sixth Centuries, the eastern half of the

into Italy

to

assume

portraits of Justinian reveal a

man who

He was

of average

did not look the part of emperor.

True, in the second half of the Fourth Century the

height and build, with dark hair and ruddy com-

appearance of the Huns in Eastern Europe drove

plexion; his bland face

the

Germanic

tribes that

had

settled there across

the borders of Byzantium. But after they defeated

Byzantine forces
tribes

at

Adrianople in 378, the Germanic

were mollified by the great Theodosius, who

them

offered

full

service at high

autonomy, grants of land and

pay

in the imperial forces. In the

seems

have worn

to

telligence

and

and he played
affability,

the Franks, the Visigoths held Spain


dals

and the Van-

had conquered North Africa. The West had

entered into that period of turmoil and darkness in

which

its

independent destiny was to be forged.

Spared the more devastating consequences of the

the purple.

with

up

to the hilt with

He was born

lately

unlettered uncle Justin,


ital

gifted with in-

rulers possessed;

was about 45 years old when he

Justinian

way

of

come up

in the world. His

who had

arrived in the cap-

bag of bread on his back, had fought

to the throne

his

through the ranks of the army.

Justin educated Justinian, and

then earned the throne in his

man

the younger

own

right

by

brilliant

As emperor he
regimen. He ate little

service as his uncle's chief aide.

thrived on a strict and taxing

and fasted often; he arose early and worked

Byzantium had been able

on

Greco-Roman civilization and culture. At


same time it was during this period that the

as-

family of

barbarian migrations which had inundated the West,


to preserve intact its heri-

this

few

his imperial role

Balkan peasants

hands of the Ostrogoths, Gaul had been seized by

man was

But

arrogance and enormous vigor.

brought about the downfall of the empire. By the


in the

a habitual faint smile.

talents such as

sumed

was

was clean shaven and he

inconspicuous figure of a

West, on the other hand, the barbarian onslaught

early part of the Sixth Century, Italy

affairs of state.

late

After a full day of intense con-

tage of

centration, he usually studied late into the night

the

to enlarge his considerable

basic theological

dogma

of

Orthodox Christianity

had been hammered out and proclaimed

at the great

councils of the Church, particularly at the Council


of

Chalcedon

in 451.

The

stage

was now

set for the

knowledge of law,

theol-

ogy, music and architecture. Yet in spite of his

crowded schedule, Justinian was as

his unfriendly

biographer Procopius admitted"the most accessible person in the world. For

even

men

of low estate

Con-

and altogether obscure had complete freedom not

stantine the Great's acceptance of Christ as "Ruler

only to come before him but to converse with him."

full

emergence of the

civilization implicit in

Byzantium's emergence was in part accomplished


in the period that stretches

the reign of the

from the opening of

Emperor Justin

in

518 and closes

with the death of the Emperor Phocas in 610. Straddling the center of this period the years from 527
to

565 towers

was an equally

Justinian's wife, Theodora,

and Master of the Universe."

56

Roman

the great figure of the last of the

markable person. She

was an

actress

and

re-

a courte-

san, daughter of a bear-keeper at the

Hippodrome.

According

marriage she

to Procopius, before her

had so great

a reputation for

debauchery that peo-

ple avoided her in the streets.

But she possessed

other qualities, including intelligence, compassion.

Septun

ALANS

AVARS

ANTAE
FRANKS

LOMBARDS
SLAVS
Cherson

CEPIDS

LAZIANS

BLACK SEA

^^''^

^-"c.A.

Varna.

Adrianople*

PERSIANS

Constantinople

/ISICOTHS

'"^^'s

Dara

iiip^>raf

R^^e^

Antioch

Beirut

Jerusalem

ARABS
BERBERS

EMPIRE OF JUSTINIAN
I

^^M

Byzantine empire before Jostiniaii


Territory conquered

by Justinian

Miles
100

200

}00

and courage,

was

as she

demonstrate. In any

to

At

case, Justinian fell violently in love v^ith her.


first

she was only his mistress, for

torial

actress.

But Justinian succeeded

changed and Theodora became


It

was Theodora who was

Justinian from
"I

hold that

if it

man

of sena-

rank was barred by law from marrying an

flight

now

if

having the law

his wife

during the Nika

light,

and empress.

said to have prevented

ever flight

brings safety," she said.

been born into the

in

inexpedient, even

is

"When

it

is

riots in 532.

man

approved of disappeared forever. More congenial

how she sheltered a deposed patriown apartments for 12 years without


anyone knowing of it. Ruthless in her own cause,
is

the story of

arch in her

and capable of using any means

way, she

nevertheless equipped Constantinople with hospitals for

bank

the poor, and converted an old palace

of the

Bosporus into

home

for

on the

destitute

women.

has once

Justinian

inevitable that he

the original

to get her

was obsessed by the dream of restoring

Roman Empire

in all its integrity.

an

"We

should also meet death. But for an emperor to be-

have good hope," he wrote

come

God will allow us to reconquer the lands of the old


Roman Empire which have been lost through indo-

If

a fugitive

you wish

be done

makes

a thing not to

to flee to safety.
.

But as for me,


ty

is

there
I

is

be endured.

Emperor,

it

can easily

the sea; here are the ships.

hold with the old saying that royal-

tractive aspects. Tales

were

in her palace into

told of secret

in

lence." Prudence should have led

on consolidating

him

his eastern borders,

to

less at-

private

which people she

dis-

the beginning of

bought

the

off the Persians

Sixth Century.

by agreeing

sian king a large annual tribute

concentrate

where the pres-

sures of a restored Persian empire had

fine winding-sheet."

Theodora's autocratic behavior also had

dungeons

official edict, "that

to

grown

since

Instead

he

pay the Per-

and threw

all

his

57

THRUSTS OF THE BARBARIANS flfferf he

reign of Justinian

cost By-

zantium most of its provinces in Spain, Italy and the Balkans;


Near Eastern and African areas fell to the Persians and Arabs.

under the

forces,

sarius

brilliant generalship first of Beli-

and then of Narses, into an

ture the western

Germanic

effort to recap-

and African provinces

lost to the

North Africa.

zantines occupied

entered Rome.

By

Two

Van-

Sicily,

Church and

state.

support of

missionary

536 Belisarius

in

other

Italy,

is-

and the Balearics had been regained and By-

zantine forces had penetrated into southeast Spain.

Spain remained in Visigothic

larger part of

and the province of Gaul was never recap-

control,
tured.

Even

so,

may

before he died Justinian

well

have thought that the dream of restoring the ancient unity of the empire

was on the verge of

zation. Indeed, for the last time, the

manum,

as the

reali-

imperium

Byzantine empire was

still

ro-

called,

did include almost the entire Mediterranean world.

Roman Empire
To reform the

Justinian set out to restore the


internally as well as geographically.

throne sought

all

dominate both

His interest in the Church, his

monasticism, and his

were

and successors on
to

work,

own

promotion of

his

concern for theology

genuine. But for him the state, as a sacred

instrument for forging a Christian

was what

Roman

empire,

really counted.

This meant in practical terms that for Justinian

and

religious unity

same

state unity

were one and the

Although Christianity had been de-

thing.

clared the state religion, remnants of

paganism had

lingered on. Seeking to eradicate them, Justinian

closed
last

down

the university at Athens, paganism's

stronghold.

the support of
its

time, his desire to re-

empire in the West led him

habilitate the

This in

At the same

its

to seek

one stable element, the papacy.

turn meant aggravation of an already

administration he abolished the sale of offices and

serious

centralized the bureaucracy. His widespread build-

around the doctrine of Monophysitism, which ex-

ing program included

new

fortifications in

Europe

domestic-religious

controversy

centering

alted Christ's divinity at the expense of His

hu-

and in Asia. Justinian's greatest and most lasting

manitya doctrine condemned under papal pres-

monument

sure by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. In the

to

Byzantine society indeed,

ern society was his recodification of

At

his instigation a legal

to

West-

Roman

law.

commission, under the

Byzantine provinces of Egypt and Syria, where

Monophysitism was

strong, Justinian, conscious of

direction of Tribonian, produced a series of books,

the importance of these provinces to his empire

known

and influenced by Theodora, who had Monophysite

as the

Corpus of Justinian,

in

which an

attempt was made to summarize and bring up


date the

many components

of the

Roman

to

legal sys-

tem. This great work, preserving the heritage of

Roman

law, formed the basis of the Byzantine

gal system.

When

the 11th Century


of Latin legal

and

it
it

was received

in the

West

le-

in

helped shape the development

political thought,

and thus passed

into the stream of world history.

In his attitude
58

his predecessors

and

lands in the western Mediterranean Corsica, Sar-

The

and many of

of the empire, Justinian

affairs

the Byzantine

Ostrogoths had been conquered in

dinia

Rome. As the pagan emperors had been not only

years after this the By-

the time of Justinian's death, the

of

masters of the government but also chief arbiters


in the religious

tribes.

In 533 Belisarius broke the control of the


dals in

retained the tradition of the pagan emperors

toward the Church, Justinian

leanings,

first

tried to conciliate

the heretics. But

pressure from the pope soon forced


policy of vacillation with concessions
to the pope,

now

to the

cessions as Justinian

him

into

made now

Monophysites. Such con-

and

his

immediate succes-

sors granted failed to placate the

Monophysites,

however, and their antagonism toward Constantinople mounted. Approximately a century

later,

the

Egyptians and the Syrians were to greet

first

the

BARBARIAN INVASIONS

ARABS

6th-l0th Centuries
I

Empire of Justinian

I,

565
Miles
100
200

Persian conquerors and then the forces of Islam


as liberators

from the

religious

and

op-

political

pression of Byzantium.
In the

after his death in

only a dream.

By

565 the work of

this last

Roman

568 the Lombards invaded

Italy.

the early Seventh Century, lands that Justinian

had regained

in

may

produced during his reign;

be seen the

first

Spain were again

in

The

Visigothic

in all this

flowering of Byzantine genius,


of

Justinian's

conquests.

territorial

few years

Emperor the Emperor "who never sleeps" began


to fall apart. In

literature

transcending the ephemeral glory

end Justinian's dream of restoring the Ro-

man Empire remained

tic

300

disintegration

years after Justinian

which beset the empire

in the

was temporarily halted by the

Emperor Heraclius (610-641). Rallying

his

people

and draining the churches and the provinces for


funds, he took the offensive against the invaders.

The Avars were bought

money and with

off

with

a considerable

sum

hands; from the north had come invasions from

of

the Avars, and the Persians had conquered parts

the Byzantine court. The Persians were defeated

of Syria, Palestine and Egypt.

was on the verge

The empire

of anarchy

and bankruptcy.

Justinian's religious policy

may have been

itself

a series of

tine

distinguished

hostages from
in

campaigns, and Egypt, Syria and Pales-

were returned

to

Byzantine

rule.

The True

dic-

Cross, which the Persians had removed from Jeru-

con-

salem, was triumphantly restored to the Holy Land.

firmed was the triumph of the doctrine of the In-

Heraclius also began the organization of the empire

tated

by reasons of

carnate

Word

in the great

state; nevertheless

it

over the pagan cults of Rome.

church of Hagia Sophia as

by Justinian,

what

in

And

finally built

other contemporary churches

in

Constantinople, Jerusalem, Ravenna and elsewhere,


in the intensity

and

spirituality of so

much monas-

into a series of military provinces, or themes, a sys-

tem which was

to

remain the basis of government

for the next five centuries.

Heraclius' successes were only a respite,


ever, for

mounted tribesmen from

how-

central Arabia
59

TERRITORIAL ACQUISITIONS enlarged the empire during the reign of Basil

map shows

"the Bulgar-slayer." The

II,

the extent of the empire that Basil in-

herited in 976, the rebellious territories he conquered in the Balkans

and

Anatolia, and the provinces, or "themes," he set up to administer these areas.

Mohammed were

the followers of the Prophet


riding out

the

of

Within 10 years

Moslem

these

desert

search of conquest.

in

after the Prophet's death in 632,

had

warriors

poured

unchecked

When

through Palestine, Syria, Egypt and Persia.


Heraclius died in 641 the empire had lost

By

southeasterly possessions forever.

to the

end of
re-

Anatolian peninsula and the Balkan

when

Constantine VI inherited the throne. Acting as

re-

gent was his mother, the widowed Empress Irene,


a

woman whose

dazzling beauty was equaled only

by her cruelty and ambition. For years Irene

easily

controlled her amiable imperial offspring. But as

Constantine reached maturity, he welcomed a plan


that

promised

him from

free

to

mother's

his

blesome borders with Byzantium.

was besieged by the Mos-

The

successfully defended.
series of attacks

during

time,

first

between 673 and 677, the

saved by the Byzantine

fleet.

city

who came

was

The second time

powerful general of some of the troops

Anatolia

(717-741) and founder of the

ty,

he and his son Constantine

inces

begun under Heraclius, and thus completed


as a comparative-

geared for defense against the ene-

mies which surrounded

Both spiritually and

territorially

into that of Byzantium.

the worldwide

finally

Having

lost

in

throne to rule in her


Irene's
tional

however, was not to be

797 Irene

fall a

in

Rome. Pope Leo

glowing opportunity

in

to elevate

papal prestige. Adjudging the throne to be vacant


i.e.,

lacking a male occupant the Pope in 800

upon Charlemagne

boldly bestowed

of emperor.

coronation was

To

all

title

and

good Byzantines,

this

the

criminal arrogation of power,

if

not a sin against the sacred state;

most of

ed relations between the Eastern Church and the

Byzantium had become predominantly Greek

its

in

The

East and the

West

of glory quickly ran out. In 802 she

by

had been shorn from the eastern empire, By-

gered, penetrating even to territories that

lin-

had never

The breach between Byzantium and

a palace revolution

the

West

a long and bitter family struggle

and exiled

was overthrown
to the island of

Lesbos. There she spent her last few

miserable isolation.

To

The climax

months

in

the very end, the fierce old

Empress was kept under


her from fomenting

rule.

aggravat-

drifted apart. Irene's days

eastern part of the empire faded. But even in lands

zantium's influence in thought and culture

it

papacy.

speech and civilization, as the Latin element in the

was widened by

saw

III

transformed

conquests in the West and in the Middle East,

been under Byzantine

took the

finally

own name.

triumph produced an even more sensa-

development

Constantine's

crown

it.

Roman Empire had now been

Irene,

and blinded. Thus

(741-775) pushed

continued the reorganization of the prov-

ly small state

from the palace.

mother

his

she succeeded in having Constantine imprisoned

tolia,

Byzantium

The disappointed Constantine, emboldened

by army support, rose up and banished

denied. After seven years of tireless conspiracy,

the Moslems back to the southern fringe of Ana-

the consolidation of

Irene.

was thwarted by

it

Crowned as Leo
new Syrian dynas-

Eventually, the promising plan

in

to the rescue.

III

that

The

the 10-year-old

Prankish king Charlemagne, whose realm had trou-

Sicily.

lems for the second time, and for the second time

60

in 780,

clutches: marriage to a daughter of the powerful

In 717 Constantinople

drama began

And

and the island of

the Bulgars, appeared in the Balkans.

was

lurid

end of the Seventh Century another enemy,

coast, southern Italy


at the

the

Byzantium was

the Heraclian dynasty in 711,

duced

most

its

that ultimately destroyed the Syrian dynasty.

still

close guard to

prevent

another revolution.

of the Byzantine achievement, or the

greater part of it the years

from 867

to

1056

Cherson

<

BLACK SEA
1045

Trebizond

CHALDIA

ARMENIAKON
PAPHLACONIA

VASPURKAN

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SEBASTEA
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CHARSIANON

OPSIKION

ABYDOS

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Ionian
5ea

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ANATOLIKON
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ELOPOKNESE

cibyraeots

"'^..

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CYPRUS

CRFTf

EMPIRE OF BASIL
I

^^1
^^1

II

Byzantine empire before Basil

Conquests of Basil
Ref;ions

II's

MEDIT ERRANEAN SEA

reign

II

added soon

after Basil's death in 1025

came under

distinguished as

its

Miles

Macedonian dynasty. This

the great

house included among

whose

its

members emperors

founder,

Basil

military triumphs initiated

as

(867-886),

the

new era

notably Leo VI, called the Wise (886-912); Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913-959), a patron
of the arts

mony and

who compiled manuals on


diplomacy; and Basil

II

court cere-

Bulgaroctonus

(the Bulgar-slayer, 976-1025), the austere

and statesman who,

umphed over

as

his

name

soldier

indicates,

tri-

the Bulgars and reduced practically

the whole Balkan peninsula to imperial rule.


It

was

<

Tarsus

Ephesjs

'^

Syracuse

mELIT

-^Or

AECAION

HEa\s

TAf

MESOPOTAMIA

the world's wealth

seemed

to

pour through the trade routes of the Levant, overland from India and beyond, or

down

as the great cities of

reconquered.

Cyprus

the great

The

Antioch and Aleppo were

seizure

of

Crete

tine cultural orbit

etration. In

newly founded Russian

Islam

were pushed back into the southern region of Syr-

The

Byzan-

came

state,

Constantinople and was baptized. Her grandson.

Prince Vladimir of Kiev, after assisting Basil

crushing a rebellion, was given Basil's

sister,

and converted himself and

II

in

Anna,

his people

to Christianity.

Basil

II

reigned for nearly half a century as the

Byzantine emperor. His speech was plain, his manner abrupt and direct.

By the sophisticated stand-

unpolished.

of

into the

through trade and religious pen-

nople, there to furnish the queen of cities with even


forces

and

957 the Grand Princess Olga, serving

as regent of the
to

was drawn

ards of the civil aristocracy, he

The menacing

961

naval power in the eastern Mediterranean.


Slavic world of Russia

Russian rivers and the Black Sea into Constanti-

greater splendor.

in

965 marked the revival of Byzantine

in

in marriage,

period of external expansion and inter-

nal prosperity. All

ia

As

the 11th Century

was coarse and


chronicler

and

philosopher, Michael Psellus, remarked, he adopted

an almost ascetic simplicity

in his efforts to

keep
61

"He even

control over the diverse aifairs of state.

went so

far as to scorn bodily

was unadorned by

make

refused to

collars, his

ornaments. His neck

back

head by diadems. He

led

himself conspicuous

in

purple-

away superfluous

colored cloaks and he put

On

even clothes of different colors.

rings,

Samuel

to

by

first

blinded and then sent

hundred, each group

in batches of a

one-eyed man.

When Samuel

beheld this

sightless cavalcade of his defeated soldiers, he fell


senseless,

the other hand,

and died two days

later.

he was there-

Basil, "slayer of the Bulgars," as

had once again raised the Byzantine

he took great pains to ensure that the various de-

after called,

partments of the government should be centered

empire into

on himself, and that they should work, without

ed from the eastern reaches of the Black Sea to the

friction."

From

his people he required not love, but

obedience.

tian

was the Egyp-

dynasty of the Fatimids. In 994, the Fatimids

a great

power whose

Adriatic in the west, from the


to the

In the East, Basil's chief adversary

Danube

Euphrates in the south.

triumph by

extend-

territories

He

in the north

celebrated his

ceremonial march through Greece as

Athens, where he held a service of solemn

far as

defeated the Byzantine armies on the Orontes, and

thanksgiving in the Parthenon, which had been

they followed this up by besieging Aleppo and

converted into a Christian church dedicated to the

threatening Antioch

Mother

campaign

to

in the field

itself.

Basil in person led the

recover the situation.

other emperors,

when

it

Unlike

many

was necessary he stayed

throughout the winter months, steeling

summer he

himself against the cold as in

plined himself against thirst. However, he

disci-

was well

versed in tactics and understood the combat duties

He was

of individual officers.

thus

formidable

opponent. In his Eastern campaigns he had by 999

quo

restored the status


rest

of

threats

This
in the

his

reign

in Syria,

there

and during the

were no further serious

all

of

Con-

Macedonia except

Dan-

ube and the Balkan range; Thessaly; Epirus; and


part of Albania. In 1001 Basil

opened

offensive against the Bulgars.

Once

his armies, in four years of

final defeat

campaigning he reduced

about half

came

his counter-

again leading

in

1014

its

is

zantine possessions in southern

tween the Churches of


in

communicated each

other.

growing

publics,

pand

their

Italy.

Rome and

was deepening and

The

be-

rift

Constantinople

1054 the two Churches ex-

The

in strength,

Italian

maritime

were anxious

commerce. Crusader fervor was

re-

to ex-

rising in

the West, directed against the Infidel in the East

said to

the structure of Byzantine society

itself.

In

the

at a battle in the

have taken some 14,-

was being weak-

ened by the growing independence and greed of

privileged landed aristocracy at the expense of small

peasant proprietors and soldiers

who had been

granted farms in return for part-time military service.

Finally, over the eastern borders lay the deep-

ening shadow of the Seljuk Turks.

Although under the Macedonians Byzantine

original size.

Struma region of northern Greece. Samuel himself


escaped, but Basil

adventurers were penetrating By-

pouring over the long Danube frontier. At home,

Salonika, the Bulgarian territory between the

Samuel's

were signs of trouble impending. In the

Norman

who now

after revolting against

to

er there

West,

north, the steppe tribes, Patzinaks and Uzes, were

had conquered

Samuel's territory

God.

concentrate on his enemies

West. These were the Bulgarians,

stantinople,

of

Yet in spite of this resurgence of Byzantine pow-

but eventually to covet Byzantium

from the Eastern Arabs.


left Basil free to

under King Samuel,

62

000 prisoners. These he

ry

had

risen to

member

of the

new

heights,

house came

of Byzantine history

by the time the

glolast

to the throne the tide

had turned for the

last time.

cu

'<A^^-

"^

AS EMPEROR (and thus as God's representative

BASIL

\.

in earthl\/ affairs), Basil sits

on

his throne dispensing a stern justice

THE MAGNIFICENT

History has few more beguiling tales than that of a self-made

from obscurity

new

glories.

grasp an empire, enlarge

to

its

realm and polish

Such an emperor was Byzantium's

Ninth Century on

a barren, rocky

Basil

I,

farm near Adrianople,

man who
it

bright with

who was born

the

young

ventured to Constantinople, where by prodigious feats of valor on hunting

field, in

tion)

in

in the imperial district

of Macedonia. Basil spent his childhood in Bulgarian captivity, then as a

man

rises

banquet

hall

and

in parlor (plus occasional discreet sallies in assassina-

he reached the throne and, surprisingly, turned out to be

wise and able monarch.

Many

ancient chronicles

tell

his story,

wonderfully

none more reveal-

ingly than the one compiled by John Scylitzes, a Byzantine official of the 11th

Century.

One

version of Scylitzes' account was illustrated during the 14th Cen-

tury by hundreds of miniatures painted by pious


in Spain's

monks

in Sicily.

It

now

rests

National Library in Madrid, offering a rare and sometimes wryly

amusing insight

into the personalities

and

politics of

Byzantine empiresmanship.
63

'AAA

1/

jjt^r^f-ii

Even

DLf

in Basil's infancy, the

legends say,

V^-^fl-ou/JOO*"^

OKC \'yT*^/

B,

'flfay

Basi/ iwas fafcen

by his family

they worked, and placed in a bower.

an eagle, the imperial symbol, came


to drive

it

in a

to

to

the wheatfields

where

the hot sun slanted

shade him. His mother

in,

tried

off until she sensed a divine sign. The small Greek labels

identify characters; the larger script

to

When

is

Scylitzes' running account.

portent of young Basil's future greatness came to his mother

dream.

grow from

tall,

slim cypress with trunk and leaves of gold seemed

the foot of her bed; standing in

related her vision to a wise


clearly

meant

woman, who

it

was her

son.

told her that the

a golden destiny for Basil as

She

dream

Emperor of Byzantium.

Y,oung
,

Basil

and

his family, taken captive

by

in-

vading Bulgarians along with thousands of other

Macedonians, were released some years


Bulgarian King Omurtag.

As

out of captivity (above) on their


farms,
ly

Omurtag

later

by the

marched

the prisoners

way back

to their

noticed the boy "smiling gracious-

and romping around" and reached out

to

grab

him. Basil, unafraid, jumped up on the King's lap


(right).

While a nearby

kissed Basil and gave

official protested,

him a

interpreted as yet another

64

big

Omurtag

apple which was

symbol of future empire.

a series of signs foretold his brilliant future

iredof farming, Basil

left

the homestead to his

brothers

and

town

dusk of a Sunday evening and

rest

at

set out for Constantinople.

He entered
down to

sat

on the steps of the monastery of St. Diomedes.


two successive scenes at right, the

In the first of

Saint himself appears inside the monastery


the Superior

and bids
welcome the young man who will be

emperor one day.


takes

In the second scene the

the adventurer

Basil to a friend of
philitzes.

in.

He

later

Emperor Michael

who engaged him

monk

recommended
III,

Theo-

as master of his stables.

Basil set all Constantinople buzzing with prodigious deeds of strength

and

skill

and

'

'm^OD'n^T^n^ffflTf'pfi ';\4

A. he

Emperor himself

first

heard

banquet, some visiting Bulgarians


Theophilitzes

Bulgarian

asked permission

and threw him on

to

the

of

boasted

send

table

newcomer
the

of
for

his

(above,

servant,

left) to

when,

Constantinople

to

prowess

of

Basil,

the

wrestler

who

delight

of

among

easily
all

at

lifted

the

them.
the

guests.

w.

hile

Basil

visiting

met the

rich

gave him dinners

money

to

Greece

with

Theophilitzes,

and lovely widow Danielis, who


(left)

buy farms

and presents of slaves and


Macedonian relatives.

for his

*&:>

won

the Emperor's favor

'^0)^'\immotTTOfyijflx\)i}tii'j;rviSiaf^^

In return she

had him take vows of "spiritual

brotherhood" (right) with her son, John, for a

monk told her Basil would one day be emperor


and she hoped he would not forget his friends.

\^>/

^.

a hunting trip back in Constantinople, the Emperor's dappled horse ran

asked Theophilitzes

away and

Basil

he might "jump into the imperial saddle and grasp the purple reins."
Granted permission, Basil dashed after the runaway (top right), vaulted from one saddle to the
if

other and brought the horse back (bottom). The Emperor appointed him one
of his guards.

o.

n another hunting expedition but

now

with Basil riding ahead and carrying the imperial

mace the Emperor was

a monstrous wolf that


the underbrush.

attacked by

came leaping from

With one deadly throw of


head in two.

the

mace

As

cheers arose for Basil, Caesar Bardas, the

Basil split the wolf's

Emperor's uncle and his chief advisor, mur-

mured

prophetically:

"I

believe

that

our

family will be exterminated by this man."

67

On

his

way

to the top, Basil

cjt c|> ""^

married well, murdered

first

and then the Emperor

a rival

" nr K<j*fci/

B.'asking

in

Michael's

favor,

was

Basil

made Grand Chamberlain and was presented


with a wife, Eudoxia Ingerina,

pened

to be

who

ture they are being married (far

the

also hap-

Michael's mistress. In the picleft),

while

Emperor consults Eudoxia's father (cen-

and Bardas

(right) frets

with a friend.

* H<tyT"VC-M4l'pH&^A*<

larmed by Basil's growing power, Mi-

chael's mother, the

dora,
is
il

To^T>if>^i'fXJOiiai^^W

'i'o'h^^miwc a^^tt>uWflL|Vf^Fo;^fa)Wi

being reassured by Michael,


loyal to

is

left

the

who

says Bas-

imperial family.

To

the

of the Empress, listening with an inter-

ested

air, is

^J eeking
il

Dowager Empress Theo-

warned her son against him. Here she

none other than

to

Basil himself.

consolidate his position, Bas-

persuaded Michael

to

das, Basil's rival, while

do away with Baron a campaign

in

Asia Minor. After the foul deed was done

between

battles,

(far left),

Michael

resumed

led his

army home

his throne (center)

had Basil crowned as

his

co-emperor

and

(right).

himself,

and

at last took over the throne

he imperial partnership of Michael and

Basil

ended when Michael found a new

vorite, Basiliskianos, a

drunken

folly

or dressed this

him and

man

in royal robes,

and

In

crowned

officials to bless

Michael also plotted

to

kill

Basil,

out against the Emperor's

excesses.

But one of the plotters

(far left) spilled the story

and

fa-

new "monarch."

loyalty to the

who had spoken


drunken

sailor.

one night the haloed Emper-

called in priests

and pledge

N.ow

handsome

Basil decided to strike

into

first.

Basil's

In the

ear

scene

j^.
at the right, Basil's

own

Michael's room and

o.

n a

litter

borne

assassin bursts into

kills

him with

in relay

a sword.

by 300 youths,

widow Danielis comes to see her friend,


now sole Emperor of Byzantium. Basil enthe

titled

her "Mother of the Emperor," and in-

stalled his "spiritual brother"


office.

slaves,

John

in

high

Again, she had gifts for Basil: 500

100 eunuchs, and

silver

and

rugs.

69

*US^-ilfc-

iv

S**

"I?
.

..^*..

'.

t'

F.
X

\y

^ ^ J

The campaigns of Basil


were epics of

waged with

their times,

a refined cruelty

that included tortures

and foe

for friend

alike

LJasil warred against the Arabs almost without interruption


through his reign, with the help of ableand cruelgenerals.
Rarely did he have to chide them for failures such as that
in the

shown

painting at right. In Italy two of his commanders, Leo and

Procopius, quarreled and in battle failed to support each other.

As

a result, Procopius,

the picture,

was

Leo rallied his

much

shown mortally wounded in the center of


Knowing Basil would not be pleased,

defeated.

own and

Procopius' forces, and took Tarentum and

booty. Nevertheless he felt the force of Basil's

ire

(below).

9-i

B,'rought before the Emperor


in battle,

In

two

the

Leo

is

condemned by

later scenes (left)

ground while the

for deserting a fellow

commander

the pointing finger of Basil (right).

Leo suffers his penalty. First he

official torturer

lies

on

burns out his right eye with

a red hot iron. Then, seated, he presents his hand on a piece of

wood while

the torturer prepares to chop

prisingly, Leo recovered

from

old age, although in exile

all

it

off at the wrist. Sur-

of this and lived on to a ripe

and no longer on the imperial

payroll.

KSAjprC^/v^^KTA* ^^^^"HPtt ^T)-"-W9lAA.l^

0*

Oi'XUv.7*VTi8' wxfk8r^^pa4/fll<jcupevijti;/e5'. j<JiiUflLMi'T5i^Af^Uai/ff'^7r5^t7niff:aflL7ou^

O,

ne of Basil's favorite officers was Admiral Nicetas Oryphas,

who

surprised and captured an

by transporting
In this painting,

Arab

his ships over the

fleet in

the Gulf of Corinth

isthmus from the Saronic Gulf.

Oryphas attempts

to dissuade other

Arab

sailors

'

^^

from further invasions by performing various torments on his


prisoners.

At

his direction,

post; another
target practice

is

one

is

being hanged from a forked

being skinned alive; a third

and a fourth

is

is

being used for

being lowered into boiling

tar.

ja-^JW^co^of vi<S^ii'jo^Xvmoti*iTn. ^'A/a^ v^DR^

Conspiracies

filled Basil's

declining years.

One

plot aroused the

emperor

against the heir to his throne,

but an odd counterplot

saved the young

man from

the ruler's terrible wrath.

B.

'asil distrusted Leo, officially his

son but some say the son of Eu-

monk

(above)

to carry a knife in his

boot to

doxia and Michael. Hoping to please Basil, a scheming


decides to trick Leo.

He

advises

him

protect his father and then (picture at right) hurries off to

A,J

Basil.

a banquet, senators friendly to Leo launch an

odd but successful appeal


grace.

tell

They place above

"Ouch! Ouch!

cally cries,

restore

to

Basil a parrot,

good

him

to

who

patheti-

Sir Leo," at

which the

diners fall silent and refuse to eat until Basil relents.

A.
JL.

inally restoring the innocent Leo to

honor, Basil orders

him

take

to

ments of sadness" and have

grown long
giving

all,

in prison, cut.

freedom and

off

his hair,

his

"vest-

which had

After this Basil, for-

appointed Leo his heir and successor.

w.

hen Basil died of a wild boar wound suf-

fered on a hunt the widow Danielis,

made

still

another

trip to

72

vast fortune to the

now
to

very old,

Leo (right),

sonand later added her


new Emperor's inheritance.

the son of her spiritual

own

pay homage

i'^^l!^yo^^^ti9vn4tyn/QArj099)ji*a)fi^* TBp
^*

X
.

he scheming

monk

informs Basil that Leo

him and therefore he can


Emperor can prove Leo's
off his

*%

in

is

good conscience get

guilt, the

monk

declares,

footwear and seeing whether or not he

is

^i

l^M^iWlfitOp^t^*

iNi4ji>4fftAuActKn&MtAfi

preparing
rid of

Leo

to

murder

first.

The

by having him take

armed

for the attempt.

V-^n
all

the hunting field Basil announces that he needs a knife,

innocently whips out the one hidden in his boot and offers

Emperor. He
jail

is

and Leo
it

to the

then stripped of the imperial purple and thrown into

by the angry

ruler,

who

contemplates having Leo's eyes burned out.

al

V^^^i
AiCiQlSl^

mr

:iJ'.^^:j^<:

Constantine's espousal of Christianity brought with


it

change

in the status of the

emperor who ruled

Byzantium. Although the imperial throne retained

which had surrounded

the magnificence

the

in

it

time of Constantine's predecessors the ceremonial

who had

perquisites of emperors like Diocletian

ruled the

new

Roman Empire

gods the

as

Christian empire were

now

rulers of the

regarded not as

divine in themselves but only as the chief represen-

and of God Himself.

tatives of Christ

Yet

another sense the Byzantine emperors

in

were identical with

their

The

ble manifestation.

God: they were His

invisible activity of

everyone knew, consisted in bringing

AN EMPEROR
UNDER GOD

all

visi-

God,

as

heavenly

an ordered harmony under His

principalities into

absolute rule.

His visible activity, carried out by

the emperor,

was

bring

to

all

mankind

into

an

ordered harmony within a universal state under the


absolute rule of the monarchy. In this

was

society

to imitate divine society.

the regulator of the cosmic order,

center around which

human

peror, His

human
It

the

immovable

revolved, so must the em-

extension, be the regulator of the

immovable center around which

social order, the


all

all

way human
As God was

affairs revolved.

followed that

all

the actions of the emperor, as

well as his office, had a sacred and symbolic character.

His

meant

to

ritual

life

was surrounded by

was

a ritual that

copy, as nearly as possible, the invisible

performed

in

heaven by God and the divine

powers. Thus the emperor's status as an individual

was of secondary importance. What was important


was

that he

mony

that

fulfill

went with

bound up with
palace,

his

the traditional pattern of cere-

court,

his office.
his

this:

vestments,

his

pearances, his statues,

Everything was

crown, his throne, his


his

images,

his

ap-

public

the

mystical

procession of his days, his imperial service,

pronouncements and

his

his laws.

Although the whole apparatus of elaborate

cere-

monial, derived in large part from the East, was


this

by no

the ruler that his offspring

would

used to invest the emperor

means assured
succeed

power
CCXJ'S

SPOKESMAN, fhe Emperor ]ohn Cantacuzene announces

ma to

bishops and

monks

at a

church council

in

1351.

him or even

for long.

that

in office,

he himself would hold

There was no absolute law binding

religious dog-

The emperors, who

usually oversaw church affairs, were often challenged by strong patriarchs.

succession to the throne. Legitimate dynastic descent did give a male candidate strong claims, espe75

UNLUCKY EMPERORS

cially

the 11th Century, but there

after

was no

guarantee of succession. Indeed, the whole idea


that an

emperor was chosen by divine decree meant

that there could be no fixed constitutional rule in

The

this matter.

divine will might express

many ways. The

only certain method of knowing

was

the divine will

to see

the throne. In other words,


Violence ended the reigns of 29 Byzantine emperors,
including Nicephorus

II,

whose head was put on

public display (above). Other unfortunate rulers are


listed

below with the dates when disaster struck.

who
all

actually occupied

means

an emperor were legitimate so long


successful.

An

itself in

becoming

of

as they

were

unsuccessful attempt to reach the

throne, on the other hand,

was unforgivable and

disastrous for the would-be ruler.

God had

Furthermore, what
BASILICU5

477

Starved in prison

take away.

ZENO

491

Buried alive

MAURICE

602

Decapitated

from him

PHOCAS

610

Dismembered

as

HERACLEONA5

641

Mutilated

641

Poisoned

II

668

Bludgeoned

LEONTIUS

705

Decapitated

705

Decapitated

CONSTANTINE

III

CONSTANS

TIBERIUS

III

JUSTINIAN

II

711

it

An

in his

bath

if

him

manner

in the first

place and

him were usually

as terrible

to

he had tried to seize power and

failed.

This view of the throne explains the atmosphere


of plot

and counterplot that shadows the lengthy

Of the 88 emperors
1453 from Constantine I

Decapitated

history of Byzantine royalty.

713

Blinded

who

VI

797

Blinded

to

LEOV

820

Stabbed, decapitated

other 13 took refuge, temporarily or for the rest of

III

867

Stabbed

CONSTANTINE VII

959

Poisoned

963

Poisoned

PHILIPPUCUS

CONSTANTINE

MICHAEL

reigned from 324 to

ROMANUS

II

NICEPHORUS

II

XI 29

Constantine

their lives, in

monasteries.

One emperor who

969

Stabbed, decapitated

II

Phocas.

died violent deaths, and an-

The

died violently

was Nicephorus

ascetic old general

was the con-

976

Poisoned

queror of Aleppo, Crete and Antioch, and scourge

ROMANUS III

1034

Poisoned, drowned

of the Saracens.

MICHAEL V

1042

Blinded

troops in 963 after the death of the incumbent,

ROMANUS IV

1071

Poisoned, blinded

Romanus

1183

Strangled, decapitated

JOHN

ALEXIUS

ANDRONICUS

II

II,

He was

acclaimed emperor by his

under suspicious circumstances, and

soon afterward he married Romanus' young wid-

1185

Mutilated and tortured

II

1193

Blinded

ow, the beautiful Theophano. But Nicephorus was

ALEXIUS IV

1204

Strangled

old and unattractive, and before long

ALEXIUS V

1204

Blinded,

JOHN

IV

1261

Blinded

ANDRONICUS

IV

1374

Blinded

JOHN VII

1374

Blinded

ISAAC

maimed

Theophano

had made herself the mistress of one of Nicephorus'


former comrades

in arms,

John Tzimisces, and was

busily plotting the death of the Emperor.

party

led by Tzimisces was admitted by Theophano's

women

into the seashore palace

was lying
76

could also

and sudden

in as unpredictable

had been given

the consequences for


as

He

given

emperor's throne might be seized

asleep.

He was

where the Emperor

stabbed to death and de-

body was pitched out

capitated. His

into the snow,

attended by eunuchs

known

and without delay Tzimisces placed himself on the

ficers of the

Byzantine throne.

fore the icon of Christ

Possibly the most hideous of

was

that

1185.

meted out

He was

all

imperial deaths

Andronicus

to

chained for days in

Comnenus
a

He would pray

and then presumably

be-

after

breakfasting would enter one of the throne rooms.

in

and

pillory

royal wardrobe.

as cubicularii, or of-

an important event was scheduled the

If

re-

ception of the envoys of a powerful foreign prince,

example special arrangements would have been

beaten black and blue; his teeth were broken with

for

hammers and one

made.

We

then tied to the back of a sick camel and paraded

in the

10th Century to the Arab ambassadors from

through the streets of Constantinople. Finally, after

Tarsus.

hands was cut

of his

boiling water had been

thrown

off.

in his face

He was

and an

eye had been plucked out, he was strung up for

Hippodrome. Over and

additional torture in the

over he repeated, "Lord have mercy upon me.

do you strike
of his misery

broken reed?" He was

by

sword plunged

at last

Why

put out

into his entrails.

Until natural or violent death overtook him, the

emperor had

to follow the ritual pattern that

had

developed in Byzantium over the centuries. This


ritual

is

perhaps best described

De

procedures,
tine VII

in a vast

manual of

ceremoniis, compiled by Constan-

Porphyrogenitus (913-959). The palace was

the stage within which the daily round of solemnities

unfolded. Early in the morning the gate leading

main public square, the Augustaeum, was

to the

opened and the captain


the

of the

watch would wake

a purple

and decorated

in

Over

this

he

back and front with embroi-

dered squares of gold cloth, as


Justinian in the

shown

Church

of

Ravenna. The imperial diadem was

in the por-

San Vitale

at

hemispherical,

cap profusely adorned with pearls and

some

hanging down as
let

inserted in the

far as the

crown and some

nape of the neck. Scar-

shoes embroidered with jewels completed his

attire.

candelabra hung from silvered chains of copper.

The

were covered with ivy and

floors

mary and
their

as they

roses;

crushed essence

were trampled underfoot

filled

the air with sweet per-

fume. Costly Persian carpets lay

On

the entrance.

at

either side of the throne stood the candidatoi,

imperial guards
in

laurel, rose-

drawn from noble

white and carrying scepters.

above

to

families, dressed

A choir was

stationed

chant the acclamations. The Arab envoys

entered the imperial presence wearing robes specially

We

ordered for them by the emperor.


also

have an account by Liutprand, future

Bishop of Cremona, of his reception by Constantine


VII Porphyrogenitus in the same
sat in the

Constantine

hall.

animated "throne of Solomon." As Liut-

Emperor, the machinery of the throne went into

cape or chlamys, opening on the right

had

other jewels,

Mag-

by great golden

operation: mechanical birds sang and lions roared.

side

close-fitting

lit

occasions the emperor would wear a

long, white, tight-sleeved tunic of silk.

trait of

in the great hall of the

naura Palace. The room was

prand, escorted by two eunuchs, approached the

private apartment.
official

was held

It

his

emperor with three knocks on the door of

On

have the record of an audience given

After dressing, the emperor would emerge.

Nothing daunted

(for he

had been forewarned),

Liutprand made his prescribed three prostrations


before the throne.

When

he rose to his feet he

found that throne and Emperor had disappeared.


Glancing upward, he saw both the Emperor
clad in robes even

now

more magnificent than he had

worn when Liutprand entered hovering near the


ceiling.

It

was with the Emperor

that Liutprand

had

to

in

this

position

continue his audience.

Receptions of this kind took place

in

both morn-

ing and afternoon. In the evening there might be a


77

j^SHHiSmaiBi^Si^

Mf^^^R^^^^jSP

1
1

hI
LaSHHw^B

Jt ^u[&V!3^ '"bwTi

BLi iV'^fcr'^^'^^^fc'''y^

y^

Bg
s^^3
^m
s^^B^

'<'''

THEODORA

*^

''^

/'

JHuBd^BHI^H

THREE FAMOUS EMPRESSES of Byzantium, portrayed in the mosaics above, led vastly
different lives. Theodora, an actress and courtesan before marrying Justinian I, be-

came

a trusted adviser to her husband. Zoe, a capricious blonde, inherited the throne,

married three times, and spent


ter of

much

of her time beautifying herself. Irene, the daugh-

a sainted Hungarian king, devoted herself to charity and herself became a saint.

banquet. This was sometimes held in

known
for

it

as the

was

still

the fashion

on

special occasions for

diners to recline on couches in the

With such

a large hall

Tribunal of the Nineteen Couches,

Roman

style.

banquet, and the entertainment that

went with it perhaps Greek dancing with one


course, readings from St. John
the next,

Hindu

jugglers to

Chrysostom with

close

the

show the

emperor's day would end.

The

ruler's

ceremonial

as those of rulers in

life

was

as rich

and varied

any epoch. He had

whole

series of public functions to perform, all similarly

cocooned

in brilliant pageantry.

Perhaps the most

review of the troops before they

or Persian.

The usual parade ground was near

apex of the Golden Horn,

the palaces and towers

with banners,

many

of

Horn

in his royal galley

and with gold-emblazoned gonfalons borne

under
ly

troops would be

drawn up: Dalmatians

their national flags, clothed in their brilliant-

armed

embroidered dress,

the imperial guards,

with

the scholarii,

tunics;

and

swords

some

another body

of

royal guards, the great hetairia, with swords, silver


belts, gilded shields

cluster the

occasion for such brilliant display might be

figurehead of an

The

monies connected with

An

its

aloft.

the emperor

were equally solemn.

with

the Golden

eagle

thing of the character of a sacred war, and cereit

them bearing the imperial

The emperor would be rowed up

lances;

had some-

the

termination of the

eagle.

clothed in rose-colored

of the faith, every military expedition

at the

and churches would be hung

military enterprises. Since the monarch, as Christ's

was defender and champion

set

great walls enclosing the city to the northwest. All

spectacular of these were related to the empire's

vice-regent on earth,

78

provided by

out against some invading host, Russian or Bulgar

and double-edged

himself,

as

axes.

Around

he disembarked, would

famous Varangian Guard in the

earlier

years Russians but in later years chiefly Anglo-

Saxons great

flaxen-haired, ax-wielding warriors.

An even more impressive scene would

be provided

sen in this way. Justinian's wife Theodora was one


notable exception.)

The

by the triumphant return of the emperor from war.

He would

through the Golden

ride his white horse

Then he would

Gate into the

city.

brilliant escort

down

pass with his

the flower-strewn highway, be-

tween houses hung with great Babylonian tapestries


and Persian embroideries,

to the

square of the Au-

gustaeum. Here Patriarch and Prefect would wel-

come him.

Later

would come

Forumof Constantineor

the great pageant in the

in the

Hippodrome. All the

war would be paraded before

captives taken in the

emperor and the high dignitaries of the court.

the

The imperial chanters would intone paeans of victory. At the climax the emperor would place his scarboot on the shaved head of the chief prisoner,

let

perhaps

a barbarian

king or Persian emir, while

the other prisoners lay prostrate


the

first

In palace

had

on the ground and

"Who

out of turn.

own

to

the palace, she

was

occasions, and

official

than

the time

is itself

came

of interest.

for the

emperor

marry, a group of delegates would be dispatched

from the capital

to search

throughout Byzantine

territories for a suitable bride. Candidates


a suitable

had not

degree of beauty and de-

corumwealth and rank were not


but they had also to

fulfill

so

important

specific requirements

regarding such details as the measurements of the


bust, waist

and

feet.

also through

women

who

the emperor,

nun and

a reputation

hastily

for sensitivity

The empress was


court in the

Those who passed

liminary examination would then be

and

religious

this pre-

summoned

to

own

had her

court

the

and

empresses, of course, were cho-

own

gave audigifts

princesses.

on

She

private fortune to administer as she

the empress

affairs,

a decisive influence

on occasion even

served as the sole ruler.

Certain empresses were renowned for their piety

Among

for their eccentricity.

Zoe (1028-1050), who


scurity

came

to the

after

prime of

woman;

life,

this

Psellus,

these ladies

50 years of

life

in

was
ob-

throne upon the death of her

uncle, Constantine VIII.

Though

empress was

who was

rather past
still

the

striking

never loath to disparage

the qualities of Byzantine rulers, wrote that, like


a

well-baked chicken, "every part of her was firm

and

in

good condition."

Zoe determined not only


sible use of her

them but

also to preserve

scientific

apartments

into

to

make

charms while she

the best posstill

possessed

them by the most ad-

means. With typically Byzantine

technical ingenuity, she

girl of

fervor.

host of servitors

visiting

would. In addition to exerting

on public

the

of the palace, with

own

dignitaries. Like the emperor, she

Like Paris, he would hand an apple to the


all

down

lady, Casia, later be-

women's quarters

vanced

(Not

farther

virtually mistress of her

waiting and her

ladies in

and

moved

startled

poet of high distinction, achieving

Constantinople and paraded before the emperor.

his choice.

Such ready wit

The young

line of aspirants.

came

what was greater

that

had entered the world the reference be-

evil

ing to the birth of Christ.

or

empress was selected

only to offer

was

ladies of

emperor on

when

had entered the world. She retorted that

that evil
it

hand her

to

was through women

it

miracles."

right.

Traditionally,

was about

the emperor

beauty

in

throne by speaking

lost the

the apple, he lamented that

frequently exercised a great deal of authority in

How the

As

who

supreme

girl,

God who performs

some impenetrable quarter of

her

intelligence,

one

great like

and public ceremonies the empress too

to the

told of

is

part to play. Far from being cloistered in

an adjunct

is

ences and held banquets, and she conferred

imperial chanter sang,

our God? You are the

all

and

story

transformed her private

laboratory full of

pipes

and
79

and other apparatus

braziers

Thus she was

of unguents.

free of wrinkles until she

for the preparation

able to keep her face

was well past her

summer. Using her beauty

good

six-

ishment of death. This sanctity also embraced the

God had

emperor's ministers: for just as

act

to

she

through the cohorts of angels, the ranks of the

found herself three personable husbands who ran

superterrestrial powers, so His earthly representa-

tieth

the empire

ties

to

(with the assistance of

superb corps of

civil servants).

would she admit

Only

effect,

Byzantium's

in her late six-

was upon

to herself that age

her and begin to spend as

much

time with her de-

emperor, had

tive, the

ing hierarchy of

numberless ranks of

who had

to

to leave

more prone

group seem no

many

that accounts both for

its

proficiency,

these one of the most notable

Comnenus

was

Among

who founded

(1118-1143),

many Byzantine monarchs were


all

who

Irene, wife of

the

where

great monastery of St. Savior Pantocrator,

For

later buried.

empire was not an emperor or an empress but


It

was His word,

the imperial bureaucracy

from Rome.

as manifested in

Down

used Latin as
Latin

official

its

titles for its

dem, was imprinted on coins;

"The Lord Jesus

Christ, our

it

was

in

His name,

Master," that laws

else in

service gradually

assumed

new

form.

official.

perial office,

The Greek

titles

of ministers

and high

the protespatharoi,

ficialsthe spatharioi,

of-

the

lo-

gothetes, the strategoi.

Though

careers were always

open

difficult

men

to all

of

were recruited,

examinations, from

distinguished families with a tradition of public

everything connected with the im-

service. Officials

from the public appearances down

the royal inkpot,

was regarded

as

having

was dedicated

to

a sacred

to the service

God. Not only was the person of the emperor

sacred, but so too

ments, his

the

Kingdom.

character. Everything
of

and

onward

Greek designations

temporal instrument for guiding the people into

why

palatii,

language, which had been taking over since the

after having passed

is

it

language and preserved

talent, generally these functionaries

That

directly

day (610-641)

were promulgated. The emperor was merely His

the fold of His

Byzantium

was inherited

magister militum, quaestor sacri

replaced the Latin

dia-

much

and

backbone of

the

it

so on. But from the Seventh Century

His Cross was carried

at the front of military pro-

centralization

its

senior officials praetorian pre-

Sixth Century, became

crowned with the imperial

En-

a sacred trust.

to Heraclius'

the Gospels, that provided the ultimate authority;

cessions; His image,

sea.

kind of ordination;

which made

the theocratic state. Like

fect,

Byzantines, however, the true ruler of the

Christ Himself.

down

ice

helped maintain the authority of the throne.

II

to lay

the

military,

this hieratic character of the imperial serv-

It is

than other

odora, were strong and effective personages

John

was

was

of them, like Justinian's The-

to folly or self-indulgence

ladies; indeed,

it

through

and

civil

do his bidding on land and

her 72nd year, serene and

beautiful.

correspond-

dignitaries,

officials,

trance into public office

still

through

to act

court

votions as she had with her chemicals. She died in

Yet Byzantine empresses as

80

was apostasy, and deserved the pun-

successful,

letters,

was

all

he touched his gar-

the golden imperial seal.

To

in-

blaspheme. To plot against him

sult

him was

to

was

to invite

excommunication. Rebellion,

if

not

were nominated, promoted and

dismissed by the emperor.


atives, responsible to

him

of his personal wishes,


state.

The

met with

for the

his represent-

implementation

which were the law

policies they carried out

lated at the imperial

officials

They were

palace,

of the

were formu-

where the emperor

his council of advisors.

High government

were given honorific court

titles

so

that

they would have rank and precedence in the im-

Since the emperor himself was

perial household.

touch with the heads of government

directly in

departments, there was no formal provision for an


office

such as that of prime minister.

For

many

at the

centuries, however, the chief minister

court was the magister

He was head

offices.

secret police

or master of

officii,

of the entire civil service, the

and the

system, as well

state postal

and au-

as being responsible for court ceremonies

diences, including the reception of foreign envoys.

The civil service was organized along military lines.


Its members wore uniforms, marked with badges

indicating their office and rank.


belt

was the emblem

the service

was

it

to

military-style

of the civil service: entering

was termed "taking the

belt," leaving

"give up the belt."

After the initiation of the theme system by the

Emperor Heraclius early

the Seventh Century,

in

the administration of the empire's provinces

came increasingly
theme, or

At the head

militaristic.

military

was

province,

be-

of each

general,

the

who had almost unlimited power in local


He was appointed by the emperor and was

strategos,
affairs.

responsible to him.

power on

of

civilian
RAISED

army

ON A

in a

SHIELD, a Biblical

David

is

crowned

Byzantine fashion by his

scene from a 10th Century manuscript. David, a king chosen by

in a

As

check against any abuse

the part of the military governor, a

was named

to serve alongside

him, though

subordinate position; he too was in direct com-

munication with the emperor.

divine decree, became a favorite symbol for Byzantium's theocratic emperors.

The Byzantines were


It

was the need

to

many enemies who

defend the empire against the


coveted

ed Byzantium to mold
Its

not by nature militaristic.

wealth that prompt-

its

itself

along military

army was not very large at

its

peak

numbered only some 120,000 men but


pensive to maintain.
fore paid to the
in order to

avoid

In Constantine's

ready moving

Much

attention

it
it

lines.

probably

was ex-

was

there-

development of military strategy


a

waste of

time,

the

away from

lives

and equipment.

Roman army was


the

al-

legionary system,

which was proving increasingly dangerous and

in-

81

effective:

dangerous because the legionaries would

were kings and queens in

fantrymen were no match

until

A new

for barbarian cavalry.

form of organization emerged, consisting of

a frontier force of settled soldier-farmers

force

who gave

plus a mobile central

part-time military service,

which could be deployed wherever needed.

Foot soldiers were normally equipped with spears,

swords and

The more important heavy

shields.

cavalry wore steel caps, shirts of mail reaching to


the thighs,

and

gauntlets

armed with long

lances, spears

armed

forces, the fleet,

than the army, though

it

was

it

the

of

lower esteem
defense

being led from

office

for a diplomatic service


it

was well understood by those who served along the

to

office

through the maze of imperial intrigue.

Many

of the highest offices in

Byzantium were

held by eunuchs. Since a eunuch could not be em-

men. As

trate their

Romanus

easier for

such

noblemen would often

cas-

sons in order to further their chances of

one emperor,

least

castrated both his legitimate and his

I,

illegitimate sons in order to

high

on hereditary

consequence, the Byzantines attached no

disgrace to castration;

advancement and success. At

attacks.

within the imperial government's structure. But

who

who were

made advancement

was zealously pursued. There

was no formal provision

world

rights this often

in

known

eyed ambassadors from the ends of the

and broadswords,

Since diplomacy was cheaper than war as a means


of self-protection,

by regular emolu-

their thrones (supported

ments from Constantinople, of course), and wide-

not, of course, pass

vital in the

Arab

back on

arranged coup might put them

perorand could

was held

of Constantinople against

cleverly

biding their time

exile,

and were

shoes,

steel

bows and arrows. The other component

fit

them

better for the

he wished them to occupy. Patriarchs

offices

of Constantinople were frequently eunuchs,

commanders

so also were

in the

army

and

or the navy.

otherwise came into contact with

Narses, Justinian's famous general, was a eunuch,

foreigners that Byzantium's international position

and so was Eustathius Cymineanus, the admiral

was

appointed by Alexius

I.

fashionable doctor

was an advantage,

borders or

to

be actively safeguarded by

means. Byzantine diplomacy, as


this

it

peaceful

all

developed from

assumption, was, on the one hand, marvelousinvolving the most sumptuous of gifts

ly formal,

and the most lavish of ceremonial receptions;

was on the other hand, perceptive,


full of

underhanded skulduggery.

Byzantine maneuver in

was

to

realistic,

fairly

state

it

and

standard

kind of subtle warfare


to

neighboring

good Christian monarch should, but

undermine that
its

this

honor treaty obligations

state as a

to

by subsidizing and equipping

enemies and inciting them

weapon: noble

marry and

ladies

civilize

were sent
distant

to foreign courts to

monarchs,

eunuchs or
It

was

it

women

If

one wanted

to

doctors could treat

in the civil service that

become

women.

eunuchs were par-

ticularly favored; here they took precedence,

many

for only

senior posts were reserved

exclusively

and
for

them. The presence of eunuchs in the high ranks


of the imperial service, operating as a check

tendency for power


hereditary nobility,
the stability

and

to fall

may have been one

reliability

on any

hands of

the

into

cause of

of the Byzantine ad-

ministrative system.

to attack.

Marriage was yet another Byzantine diplomatic

82

spoke the empire's strenuous diplomatic activity

depose an emperor; ineffective because these in-

and

alien

As an

autocratic establishment, this system

expensive,

cumbersome and

liable

But for more than 11 centuries

it

to

corruption.

served the em-

brides were often brought to the imperial throne.

perors well as they sought to hold

Other elements

many

in the life of the court that be-

was

together the

contradictory realities of the empire.

'7Tiffci^''^'<r>iBA*.Kfir.'T?f'Wf7aATDi^7^W

CHARGING CAVALRYMEN, their mounts wheeling in a

tightly disciplined

maneuver, bring a fan of spears

Although the Byzantines usually preferred diplomacy

Roman

scientific

legions

warfare

when

they had

to.

As

to bloodshed, they could

the heirs of the invincible

and the defenders of Christendom, the army regarded

rightly so, as the best fighting force in the world. Its officers

geography and strategy, and even emperors wrote manuals on


enemies often blundered onto the

field,

on the enemy.

WAR

TECHNIQUES OF
wage highly

to bear

the Byzantines

tactics.

moved

itself,

and

were schooled

While

their infantry

in

their

and

cavalry the fighting edge of the land forces through complex and orderly maneuvers (above). The

men

in the front lines

were backed by

servants, scouts, guards for the supply train and an

cued the wounded and gathered up the

spoils.

a host of auxiliaries:

ambulance corps which

res-

There was even an intelligence

service, the "Office of Barbarians," that collected information

about the Saracens,

Turks and Bulgars who ringed the empire, and advised generals on

strategy.
A3

ARCHERS ON HORSEBACK
.'^'A

V-iiC- ''^--

In the Byzantine army, the cavalry

was supreme. During

the

empire's height, from the Seventh to the 12th Centuries, cav-

alrymen, like other Byzantine soldiers, were career professionals.


<

B^M
'^i^A

''gS'-.

A HORSE-ARCHER

84

turns in his saddle to take aim.

They were

also the best trained

and most highly paid

fighters in the world. In battle, the first assault

most always

was

their task to harry

them came

wave was

detachment of archers mounted on horses;

second

alit

and break the enemy's ranks. Behind

line of

armored lancers who rode

closer combat. Shooting accurately with a

bow

in for

while on horse-

back required long training, and most of the mounted bow-

men were recruited from among the tribes of Asia Minor,


who were renowned for their horsemanship and fighting skill.

INFIGHTERS
Foot soldiers,

who had been

played a secondary but

ON FOOT

the mainstay of the

vital role in the

Roman

land forces,

Byzantine army. Ordinarily,

the infantry did not serve in the front lines because Byzantium's
chief enemies, the
ever,

when

the Slavs

Turks and Saracens, were

entirely

and the Franks, the infantry came into

its

precedence in battles fought in hilly country or

where horses did not have enough space


also

mounted. How-

the Byzantines fought armies of foot soldiers, such as

handled the

less

to

own.
in

It

also took

narrow passes

maneuver. Foot soldiers

glamorous tasks: fortifying the camp every

night by digging a deep ditch around

it,

guarding the wagon train

carrying supplies, and holding mountain passes and river fords to

block an
SPE.AR IN

HANP

ij"

infantryman

A CAVALRYMAN'S UNIFORM
scale armor,

starts

on a march.

consisted of

(left)

under which he wore a linen tu-

nic in

summer and

Over

his shoulders

a woolen tunic in winter.

he draped a

felt

cloak

and a blanket, and

that served as a raincoat

as camouflage to cover his gleaming

armor

during night attacks. His weapons included


a

bow and

arrows, a small round shield, a

broadsword, a battle-ax and a lance almost


12 feet long. His saddle was equipped with

stirrupsa revolutionary device the Byzantines started

employing

Century.

in the Sixth

Stirrups gave the rider a firm seat

lowed him

to slash

and

al-

with his sword, or thrust

with his lance, without falling off his mount.

AN FNFANTRYMAN-S WEAPONS (right) includbow than the cavalryman 's and

ed a larger

a shorter broadsword for hand-to-hand fighting, as well as a sling, a

and a long

pike.

mace, a short javelin

The mace's edges were honed

sharp enough to cut through a metal helmet

when brought down


The front
armored

an overhead swing.

in

line of the infantry

like the cavalry,

extremely expensive,

wore only a helmet.


narily carried a

the

An

men sometimes
infantryman ordi-

round or oxmI shield larger

than that of the cavalryman.


alry,

was usually

hut since armor was

As

in the cav-

each regiment could be identified by

the distinctive colors painted on

its

shields.

enemy

retreating before the hard-riding Byzantine cavalry.

ENGINEERING A SIEGE
Byzantium was seldom secure enough
that

it

war, but
ual

its

enemy

line of

militarily

could afford to stage an all-out offensive


armies sometimes laid siege to individ-

strongholds. First the artillery set

mangons

that hurled

heavy stones (and sometimes,

tain the bored besiegers, live

to enter-

When

the missiles

had driven enough of the defenders from


posts along the ramparts,
in to

mules or dead enemy

soldiers) over the fortress walls.

moved

up

(below), medium-sized catapults

hammer

the Byzantine

their

troops

the gates with battering rams

or bore holes through the walls with huge, metal-

tipped

drills.

tive, siege

obvious, but often more effec-

less

technique was mining. Soldiers would

dig a tunnel under the city walls, shoring

burrow with timbers

set

them on

fire,

time, the shoring


it

would collapse

tine forces

the

in

and scramble back through the

enemy could put

tunnel. Unless the

up

they had

would soak the timbers

finished digging, they


oil,

When

as they went.

the

fire

out in

would burn away, the wall above


and the Byzan-

into the tunnel,

would stream

through the breach.

in

HEAVY ARTILLERY

of the Byzantines includ-

ed such weapons as the

cock

it,

artillery

men

mangon

first

(below).

To

turned the geared

winches at the center until the ropes between


the

wood

posts were twisted tight. Then the

beam, or throwing arm, was pulled back by

men

operating the windlass at the

nally a stone

^^,

86

mangon was

was put

in

the scoop

rear.

Fi-

and the

released by tripping a slip hook.

'

paujK-j^

TWO TYPES OF

DRILL, apparently designed for

boring straight through

shown

in a

fortress

walls,

are

miniature from an 11th Century

Byzantine treatise on siegecraft.


diers rotate the

upper

drill,

Two

which

sol-

held

is

steady in a socket, by turning long handles

attached to
artist's

own

it.

The

drill

below, probably the

inventive design, was operated

by men sawing a huge bow back and


<^

-^

LU

"TTA -r^

"^_iar

nff

>

forth.

'V^

i.

^-

\>"

i^l
*

n-'^^^%\i\\\

'^.'tV

SCALING THE WALLS, the soldier

W
/A-

mounts a ladder

-"- ^;,H!
|?raw'^juuuri

yt

it-'.

^:^-

to a net

at

far

left

held by grappling

hooks thrown over the battlements. In the


picture at right two besiegers climb a similar

hung from a

net

battering ram.

The ram, a

large tree trunk tipped with metal,

is

swung

on ropes from a movable tower, which has a

heavy lower roof

to shield the soldiers

push-

ing it and a small fort to protect archers on top.

SHIPBORNE BRIDGES are maneuvered up


walls of a fortress.

The one

at right

is

to the

a bat-

tering ram, fitted with railings so that soldiers can cross

it.

Both bridges have been

hoisted to the height of the ramparts

and are

being shoved forward so that they can

lie

on

top of the walls. The heads on the platforms

may
to

be

symbolic decorations,

or

weights

keep the top-heavy structures steady.

87

MANNING A FLAME-GUN,

a soldier stands on a scaling ladder and releases a stream of

on an enemy

Greek

fire

inder,

worked

like

The gun, which was

fortress.

pump

a small hand

or syringe.

essentially a piston in a cyl-

The Byzantines

also used such

flame-throwing weapons for defense; the Emperor Constantine VII ordered them

may

used "against any tower that

GUNS AND

FIERY
The most

terrifying single

weapon

"Greek

terious liquid called

thrown

he advanced against the wall of a besieged town."

in clay pots,

burn even on water.

Greek

Its

fire."

the Byzantines had

When

would

fire

SHIPS

main ingredients

was

mys-

squirted from tubes or

ignite spontaneously

are thought to

and

have been

naphtha, sulphur and saltpeter, mixed in proportions that were a


state secret; the exact

The Byzantines
Century and

learned

at first

used

in

plode,

and

it

how

to

make Greek

both on land and

it

conveying Greek

shock

battles.

formula was never written down.

fire

fire in

at sea.

the Seventh

The

overland, however, caused

was eventually reserved almost exclusively

Equipped with the deadly weapon the

fleet

slightest
it

to ex-

for naval

controlled the

Mediterranean, and time and again the fiery liquid averted im-

pending defeats. Russia's Prince Igor might have captured Constantinople in 941

if

Greek

fire

had not been turned against

his

10,000 ships all of which reportedly burst into flames and sank.
88

A SHIP OF THE LINE called a dromon, or "runner,"


had mounted

in its

bow

a high

which projected three tubes

wooden

turret

for spraying

from

Greek

fire.

]ust aft

were catapults for hurling

fiery

siles

made

wadded

EMch ship

of

cloth soaked in

oil.

mis-

was manned by some 230 oarsmen and 70 marines.


89

v\"K
'>>

'V

AfORTlflEDPi.NlNSVLA.Constantinoplewasprotectedfrov. .:....

THE FORMIDABLE WALLS


OF CONSTANTINOPLE

...,..., a

moat on one side and 13 miles of walls.

walls were erected in the Fifth Century to protect the city

who had

captured Rome. They

served their purpose well, holding off invaders for nearly a

thousand years. As shown in the 15th Century


a single wall

bounded the

defended by the Byzantine


90

city's
fleet.

seaward

On

THE CITY WALLS on the landward

The elaborate defense works that surrounded Constantinople


made it in its day the best-fortified city in the world. The
against the Goths and Huns,

sides,

map

above,

which were

the land side, the Byzan-

1
side rose in levels behind the moat.

tines constructed a
feet thick.

As

The towers of the middle and inner walls-192

moat and three walls

that

were up

to 25

indicated in the sketch (above right), invaders

were faced first with a moat some 60 feet wide and 22 feet
deep that was normally dry but that could be flooded by
pipes. Behind the moat was a low wall to shield a line of
archers.

Even

fense, they

if

the attackers could

were confronted by

overcome

this first de-

second wall, 27

feet high,

which sheltered more troops. Beyond the second wall lay the

in

all-were staggered in alignment

third

to bring

and strongest bulwark.

Its

maximum

towers,

fire

against invader

some 70

feel

high,

housed more archers and missile throwers. Only the force of

gunpowder

finally

demolished the protecting walls, bringing

Constantinople down. The Turkish Sultan


ed the city for
ing as

much

month and

as 1,200

empire fell

at last

Mehmel

II

pound-

with cannon balls weigh-

pounds. Gradually sections of the huge

ramparts crumbled, and on


its

a half

May

29, 1453,

the capital and

before the onrushing Turkish hordes.


91

> /v

^> 1(A)"6^'
V

As Constantine approached Rome


Maxentius, the
said to have

Emperor

rival

had

in

a revelation.

It

European

crucial for subsequent

in

312 A.D.

to

Milvian Bridge with

fight his decisive battle at the

the West, he

was

is

a revelation

history.

Some

ac-

counts say Constantine saw a luminous cross

in

the sky, others say only that he had a dream, as a

which he was

result of

on

led to inscribe a

new

was elaborated

his banner. Later this

sign

into the

declaration that he had a vision of the Christian

Cross inscribed with the words:

con-

"In this sign

quer."

any

In

was

THE HOLY
ESTABLISHMENT

case,

what Constantine dreamed or saw

a Christian sign,

and

tion of this sign that he

was under

it

won

the protec-

his decisive victory.

After this battle Constantine counted himself

Christian, and in this spirit he began the process


of transforming the

pagan empire into

Christian

empire, even though he did not himself receive


Christian baptism until he was on his deathbed 25
years
tian

Imperial favor was granted the Chris-

later.

Church, properties confiscated from

it

during

the time of persecutions were restored, and Christianity's right to legal status

was

affirmed.

In the very nature of Constantine's conversion


lay the seeds of later conflict in the religious struc-

ture of

Byzantium. For Constantine had not come

to Christianity in a

it so

normal way. He had come

he believed through the direct

and intervention of God Himself. As the


text

from the

from man.

hymn sung on

puts

tine's Feast
'

it,

the

revelation
liturgical

day of Constan-

"Like Paul he received

a call

His conversion, moreover, was not

that of a private citizen:

it

to

not
like

was the conversion of

an emperor. This meant that in Constantine's view

and in the view of others who came to believe like


him both the emperor and the imperial structure
of

which he was the head had been

directly chosen

and consecrated by God. The emperor and the ema

divine blessing and from then

on were under the

direct protection of the Cross.

pire

It

had received

soon became

clear,

however, that

being of the state depended on


protector, the Cross, then
SAINTS. ANCELS

AND EMPERORS were

often depicted together in the art of By-

zantium, where Christianity was the state religion. In the 11th Century

mination at

mons from

left,

St.

the

Emperor Nicephorus

]ohn Chrysostom

(left)

III

(center) receives a

book of

its

its

if

the well-

submission

officials

to its

and citizens

could not very well hold beliefs that were radically

illu-

ser-

while the Archangel Michael looks on.

opposed

to Christianity. In fact, the persecution of

pagans began during Constantine's reign and con93

tinued in the reign of his sons. In 341 pagan sacri-

were forbidden;

had captured

it

Roman

its

most

bitter persecutor,

353 the cults of idols were

the

declared illegal and temples were closed; and in the

less

reign of Theodosius the Great (379-395) Christian-

manifestation of the Divine Will in the affairs of

fices

ity

was declared

in

the official religion of the state and

the faith required of Byzantine citizens.

This adoption of

compulsory

in part the result of a

state religion

growing need

was

for a strong

sion from within and by barbarian invasions from

been

to

Rome such

a unifying force had

some extent provided by

emperor worship. Prostration

the practice of

an

in the presence of

emperor and the burning of incense before

head of

state.

Could not Christianity now be used

to foster unity in

Church

somewhat

the

same way? The

readily agreed, rejoicing in

and tempted by the vision of

which men were brought

to

new

its

status

Christian society in
salvation by law as

In submitting to this temptation, the ministers

Church were

of course forgetting that such

Church and

identification of

a close

be created to define the nature of

siastical advisors,

than

With

state

by Christ Himself. Had He not

"My kingdom

is

was

and actions rejected

to its doctrine,

with the

state.

political control

of the faith. In

by Church and

explicitly

not of this world," and had


all

worldly status

and authority? Christianity, therefore,

itself

if

it

were

to

could not fully merge

Separation of religion from

was demanded by the very nature

Byzantium, the alliance entered into


state

was

to result in a very

com-

The conflict was not immediately apparent. What


clear

was

to

to

the needs

of

endure for more

for

state.

prevailing

traditions,

Eusebius wove strands taken from Hellenism and

Roman

practice into a Christian framework.

From

Hellenism came the concept of the emperor as


ther, benefactor

and savior of

his people.

From

falate

pagan Rome, where the emperors had ruled


gods,

came

the exalted status of

the

ruler,

as

who

divinity.

Now

the Christian
a

the Christian emperor could claim

God

that Christianity,

oppressed religion, had

as his source of strength.

bond had been forged

so the theory

submis-

in Constantine's

on the eve

Such

of his victory at the

triumph that made manifest-

went the

designation of Constantine

(and his successors on the throne) as the elect of

God. Eusebius wrote: "Thus the God of

all

appointed Constantine ... to be prince and sovereign, so that while others

distinction
is

by the

the only one to

may

have been raised

election of their fellow

to this

men, he

whose elevation no mortal man

boast of having contributed." As God's chosen

instrument, the emperor was to rule on earth as

God's vice-regent and representative. And, since

plex relationship.

was

it

respect

astute

Milvian Bridge,

remain true

was

philosophy of the Byzantine

political

clearly circum-

life

of

millennium, with only minor changes, as the

domain had been

not His

was so suited

and society that

state

sion to the Cross

stated,

and

ruler

its

The theory put forward by Eusebius, Bishop

The boundaries

scribed

Roman Empire was now to be


new philosophical framework had

the

if

reversion to pre-Christian practice.


of the Church's

direct

buttressed his power by adopting a favorite pagan

well as by grace.

of the

providential,

Caesarea and one of Constantine's closest eccle-

his

statue were acts of political allegiance to the divine

and

the source of his power.

a diver-

and that was besieged by dissen-

without. In pagan

mankind. But

to

This could hardly seem anything

state.

than miraculous

Christian, then a

unifying force in an empire that embraced


sity of peoples

94

Indeed,

for

now emerged

earth

was

long an

was

to play

triumphant.

God

in

so

counterpart of Heaven, the emperor

on earth

a role

analogous to that of

Heaven. Just as there was one all-powerful

THE PARALLEL PATHS


OF TWO RELIGIONS

ruler in

Heaven, so on earth there would be but one

absolute

monarch the

Roman

ruler of the

Empire.

This exalted status, however, brought with


sponsibilities.

It

was the emperor's duty

them

to

spiritual

was

it.

He was

to be

of

and temporal welfare of

to rule

of God. So

prepare

to

God and
answerable to God

Kingdom

his people for the

re-

it

to lead

for the

He

his subjects.

through the guidance and inspiration

was

it

had himself

that Constantine

portrayed on coins: a profile image with eyes di-

upward awaiting guidance from Heaven.

rected

Since the emperor's responsibility in religious


affairs

was thus magnified,

certain tension

would

arise

it

was

inevitable that a

between emperor and

Church. In cases where the interests and


tion of the

jurisdic-

two overlapped, which authority should

prevail? This vital question remained unresolved

On

through the centuries of Byzantium's existence.

occasion the emperor would assert his claim to su-

Between the Third and Sixth Centuries,


while Christianity was spreading through
the

Roman and

Byzantine Empires, Bud-

dhism moved out from

its

native India to

Central Asia, China and Korea. Although


it

is

doubtful that the two religions

preme authority
the

in religious affairs; at other times

Church would

over the emperor and

As

far as the

an ascendancy

try to establish
state.

Church was concerned,

velopments had several consequences.

these de-

and

First

it

ernments were

sharp decline:

tianity

began

or

Byzantine society was

society, the
role

Church had

Roman

to

evolve into a Christian

to

have an active

social

and be the chief instrument through which

this evolution

most

if

was

carried out.

effectively, the

To

play

Church hastened

When, under

new

were appointed
diocese,

to

adapt

ops, called metropolitans,


in

Roman

adopted the same plan.


to administer the

who

as

Chris-

Roman

the

Empire decayed; Buddhism became strong-

China during the four cen-

confusion following the disinte-

gration of the

Han Dynasty

in the

Third

Century a period during which the gilt


bronze Buddha shown above was cast.
The early rise of Buddhism and Christianity had something else in common:
strength they offered people in a time of

its

chaos.

The aftermath

of this parallel

reli-

gious expansion was, however, quite dif-

Diocletian, the old

churches

and they were responsible

flourish

role

prov-

had been reorganized into dioceses, the early

Christians had

to

the existing gov-

both were widely accepted for the spiritual

its

organization to that of the empire.

inces

in

the

had been driven by the

pagan emperors of Rome. Furthermore,

Both gained strong

when

turies of

catacombs into which

lines.

footholds in a time

ly rooted in

Church emerged from

foremost, the Christian

followed similar

in-

growth

fluenced each other, their rapid

to

Bishops
in

each

higher bish-

ferent.

When

the

Roman Empire

stabilized

around Byzantium, Christianity became


theofRcial state religion. Buddhism,

on the

other hand, eventually merged with Tao-

ism and Confucianism into the complex

amalgam

of Chinese

religious

thought.

exercised authority

an area larger than the diocese. By Constantine's


95

time, the

most important metropolitans

ern part of the empire were those

in the east-

who

presided

over the key areas of Alexandria, Antioch, Ephe-

Heraclea and Caesarea.

sus,

place

of

Church was held by the bishop

of

special

honor

in the

Rome,

the successor to Saint Peter, the Prince of

the Apostles.

The town

new

Constantine as his

capital,

was chosen by

it

was no more than

minor bishopric under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan of Heraclea.

So humble

was

status

clearly unsuitable for the bishops of the administrative center of the

Roman

Empire, the city of the

emperor, Christ's vice-regent on earth. Inevitably,

Constantinople assumed a dominant religious position;

by 381, scarcely 50 years

after the

city's

with the bishop of Constantinople

at the

and

his representatives the other bishops

in charge

of the administrative subdivisions. In

center,

make

order to

this centralized

Church workable,

government of the

permanent episcopal synod, or

was established

Constantinople, presid-

at

ed over by the patriarch. This completed the model-

Church on

ing of the structure of the Byzantine

As

that of the state.

there

was

a patriarch;

there

and

was an emperor,

as the

so

emperor ruled

at least theoretically through a senate, so the patri-

arch ruled through a synod.

Hand

in

hand with Constantinople's transforma-

tion into the religious center of the

empire went

the attempt to transform the city itself into a

"New

dedication in 330, the fathers of the second great

Jerusalem," an image of Heaven. Constantine the

Church council declared

Great had already started this process, not only by

Con-

that the bishop of

up Christian symbols

stantinople should be accorded primacy of honor

setting

among

in the city,

the bishops, second only to the bishop of

Rome, because Constantinople was the "New Rome,

the city of the emperor and the Senate."


council, held at

Chalcedon

in 451,

later

confirmed

this

Church

of the

little

prominent places

Holy Apostles and laying the foun-

dations for the great

seems

in

but more concretely by building the

Church

of

Hagia Sophia. There

doubt that Constantine had

a sense of

hierarchy and in addition allotted to the see of

the sacred mission of his city; and this mystical vi-

Constantinople the dioceses of Pontus, Asia and

sion of Constantinople as a holy city

Thrace, giving

it

a status equal to other great reli-

gious centers like Antioch and Alexandria.

The
peak
the

Church

at

Century,

when

its

bishop or

religious sees
title

Justinian

to

er protested,

first to call

but which nonetheless became the

title

is

known

simple: the

Byzantine empire was called the oekumene (the uniit

was natural

that

its

was

monuments,

memorials and various objects connected with the

by which the patriarch of Constantinople

verse), so

tangible expression of this vision

Christian faith. In countless churches, sanctuaries

lat-

is

The most

the multiplying throughout the city of

other

be called "ecumenical"

The explanation

and become more compelling through subsequent

all

Rome, Gregory,

to the present day.

deepen

called

patriarch, as the heads of the great

came

to

Constantinople "the head of

against which the Pope of

was

centuries.

religious elevation of the capital reached its

in the Sixth

churches." Apparently he was also the

senior patriarch

should be "ecumenical." The administrative struc96

tralized,

council,

Byzantium, when

of

Church gradually became more cen-

ture of the

and shrines,
of the
tion

new

from

all

magnificently decorated, lay

faith,

all

brought

the possession

of

that

these

now

Through

relics the earthly

inhabiting

relics

and devo-

the provinces of the empire.

monials of the saints


felt

in piety, love

testi-

Heaven it was

something of Heaven's influence and

radi-

ance might be conferred on Constantinople.

The

fact that Christianity

faith of the empire also

became the required

meant

that the state

had

concern

vital

and preserving Church

in defining

dogma. Before the time of

alliance with the state,

its

Church regulations had been formulated by

local

the Fifth Century on, icons or


the Virgin

Mary and

images of Christ,

the saints became increasing-

and private worship. So

ly prevalent in public

councils that met to deal with general questions of

vent, in fact, did the veneration of icons

Church organization and dogma

that

These
itself

worship. But

to

need arose.

were adequate as long as Christianity

rules

remained

perorand

as the

matter of individual belief and

when

later

became the

faith of the

em-

the official religion answers

had

it

new

be found for a whole host of

questions,

it

fer-

become

The peoples

often did border on idolatry.

of

the eastern provinces, influenced by their close contact

with Moslems and Jews, whose faiths

flatly

prohibited religious imagery, became alarmed.

full-scale attack against

images was launched

in

the religious use of

726 when Emperor Leo

III,

varying from the most subtle points of doctrine

himself of eastern birth, ordered

down

from churches and destroyed. He had strong sup-

of

most ordinary practical

to the

details.

This pressure for greater elaboration in matters

port for this destruction, or iconoclasm, from the

Church dogma and

army, largely recruited

discipline resulted in a series

of gatherings known

ecumenical councils at

as

which emperor and bishops met


at issue

when

to

debate the points

and make the necessary decisions. Generally

these councils

were summoned by the emperor

doctrinal disputes

ened to lead

to serious

among

his subjects threat-

disturbances of the peace and

unity of the state. Thus, the First Ecumenical


cil

icons removed

all

met

at

Nicaea

Coun-

325 in order

in the spring of

pronounce judgment on what was known

to

as Arian-

eastern

the

in

provinces,

and from the governmental bureaucracy, which was


as anxious

power

as

Emperor

the

of the Church.

to

Ranged

curb the growing

in defense of the icon

were the peoples of the western provinces and most


of the clergy,
lege

who

regarded iconoclasm as sacri-

and heresy.

The

attack

upon

more than

icons raged for

half a

century. Riots erupted as the factions took their


quarrel

into

the

streets;

systematic

persecutions

ism, a set of teachings initiated in Alexandria

by

were visited on the monks, the most vigorous de-

on the nature of the

re-

fenders of the icon. In 780 the Empress Irene, a na-

the learned presbyter Arius

lationship of the

Son

of

God

God

to

the Father.

tive of the

western provinces and an ardent believer

became

and

787 she summoned

Subsequent ecumenical councils such as the sec-

in icons,

ond held

the Seventh Ecumenical Council. This meeting con-

Ephesus

don

at

Constantinople

in 431, the great fourth council at

in 451, or the

were

381, the

in

third

similarly

seventh one held

summoned

at

at

Chalce-

Nicaea

in

to deal first of all

787

with

regent,

demned iconoclasm and drew


true worship, reserved for
tion, or

honor given

theological principles of great complexity concerned

mitted to

with such matters as the Holy Trinity, the meaning

once more permitted

of the two natures in Christ, or the place and func-

ings.

icon

was the focus of

particularly long

dispute which nearly tore the empire apart.


early Christians, inheriting

from Judaism

a distinction

God

alone,

an icon but

holy subject.
in

As

nance toward idolatry, had looked askance

The

repugat

any

veneration of pictures of holy persons. But from

between

and venera-

in reality trans-

a result, icons

were

churches and public build-

These events were followed by

tion of the icon in Christian worship.

The

its

to

in

quarter of a

century of uneasy peace. Opposition to the restoration of icons

was deep-rooted, and

other eastern Emperor, Leo V,


the icons were again

in 813,

came

removed and

when

an-

to the throne,

new wave

of

persecution broke out. This time, however, support


97

foriconoclasm was

less enthusiastic

fenders were better organized.

and the icon de-

When

Theodora became regent she managed

monk Methodius,
tion, elected

great

Methodius

have the

victim of iconoclast persecu-

Hagia Sophia,

of

proclaimed

the

From

the year

in

843,

restoration

final

the

of

and iconoclasm, which the Eastern Church

icons,

regarded as the
ly

Empress

to

the patriarchal throne.

to

Church

the

last of the great heresies,

had

final-

been overcome.
religious disputes could be-

so important that they could seriously endan-

must remember

ger the security of the empire, one

that religion has rarely played as central a role in


daily life as

it

did in Byzantium. Theology

simply a matter for the experts;


question of
or

life

damnation

or death.

mode

was not

literally a

of salvation

hinged upon correct-

of worship.

the preserve of the clergy, to be

submissive

was

it

The prospect

in the hereafter

ness of belief and

Nor was dogma

propounded

to a

popular consciousness, for which

downward,

overthrow of

felt

responsible.

all,

the consciousness of these principles

summoned by
them was

their retreats

by an indignant pop-

might enter Constantinople and actually bring


an erring emperor. At the end of the Byzan-

in

the

lost

fact

emperor, what emerged from


a

crystallization

what was perhaps the great majority

of the empire's clergy

and

laity

preferred facing

which both he and

this truth to

of

the

inner

if

Church and those

of the

between the principles

the clash

of the state

formed by the

tion of a Christian society

there were

still

when

times

firm, refusing to betray or

which

it

fundamental religious
the state

in a

It is difficult

belief. It

which

had

interest

state,

compromise the truth

human

life

and

it.

few words

lay behind

all

to give

an idea of

Byzantine religious

would be wrong, however,

to overstress

otherworldly or purely transcendental aspects.

was

man himself the human personvery much at the center of things.

the contrary,
felt to

be

The individual, Byzantines


his or her

own

fate,

believed, held the keys to

either

to

become God-like

through the development of innate spiritual potentialities, or to

It

to a

beliefs.

in

Church boldly held

stood or the vision of

destiny that went with

the vision

the

be swept away into outer dark-

however God-like man might become,

destiny was to remain human.

would

was muted

Byzantium by the Church's acceptance of the no-

Roman West,

since they feared that such aid

empire were

with Christ's apostolic ministers and not with the


emperor. Even

ness. Yet

be dependent on the surrender of certain of their

his

committed, and whose formulation lay ultimately

conquest by the Turks to accepting help from the

Although

was never

mately, the emperor's absolutism was limited by

On

to heel

many

by the Church; though the councils may have been

tation of a ritual gesture. Gaunt, saintly hermits,

tine period

servili-

over Christian principles. But in the final analysis

its

ulace,

frequent examples of

to be sure,

the leaders of the Church, and on

occasions secular interests triumphed temporarily

incorrect definition of Christ's nature or interpre-

summoned from

was not only the human mind


union with God. The

have

his

that could aspire

human body was

also

capacity for experiencing spiritual

in

re-

itself

was

realities.

In fact, everything that existed could par-

willing to cooperate in the building of the sacred

ticipate,

simply by reason of

ligious matters,

empire,
98

among

ty

from the em-

revolution, the

dynasty, might be incited by the

There were,

for

laity.

Both theology and dogma were the expression of

peror

subservient tool in the emperor's hands.

truth of the Church's faith and experience. Ulti-

To understand how
come

simply

it

vital

and although the Church

must not be thought

that the

Church was

said to

highest

life

of

all.

The

its

existence, in the

divine energies, as they were

ST SIMEON STYLrTES. a Fifth Century Syrian


ascetic,

this

escaped his too-ardent followers by


years.

From

unusual perch he exerted great

influ-

living

ence,

on top of a

even

pillar for

threatening

the

God's punishment in a

called,
it

30

emperor with
dispute.

religious

were said

another

to

be present in everything; to put

way everything had


Man

with the spiritual world.


be the microcosm of

much bound up with


and with

its

point of contact

existing

all

whole creation; and so

its

himself was

his

own

of

things,

to

felt

the

destiny was very

that of the rest of creation

and

struggles

suffering.

"What

is

compassionate heart?" asked one of the spiritual


masters of the Byzantine world, Isaac of Nineveh.

which burns with compassion

heart

"It

is

the

whole of creation for men,

for

demons, for

creatures.

all

heart cannot call to

mind

for

for birds, for beasts,

He who

has this

or see one creature with-

out his eyes filling with tears because of the im-

mense compassion which

The Byzantine
in its

seizes his heart.

vision of

life

was

also mirrored

elaborate and intricate church service,

Divine Liturgy.
corporate

life

And

it

was

the

in the liturgy that the

of the Byzantine people

found

its

most complete religious expression. All echelons


of society participated in this great sacred drama,

which was not simply

a ritual spectacle or a repre-

sentation of past historical events, but a reliving,

through the powerful imagery of language, gesture,


chant,

hymn and

invocation, of the central mysteries

of the Christian faith. In the course of this drama,

emperor, clergy and

common

folk alike were re-

that their

honors and even citizen-

titles,

ship depended not merely on

membership

empire but on their commitment

in a ter-

to

God.

In the endless re-enacting of the Christian

mys-

restrial

empire found

teries in the liturgy, the

tion

and savored

its

fulfillment.

its justifica-

Church and

clergy and people here

made manifest

ence as

and

a single social

nation, chosen under

The

service.

political

God and

the Great

dedicated

the envoys sent

on

at

His

services in

Constantinople,

by Vladimir, Prince of Kiev,

"We know

their master:

earth,

not whether

for surely

there

not describe

it

to

you; only

among men, and

passes the worship of

all

told

we were

we know

in

no such

is

We

can-

that

God

splendor or beauty anywhere upon earth.

dwells there

to

celebration of this belief could be awe-

Church of Hagia Sophia

or

state,

their exist-

body, a holy

some indeed. After they had attended

Heaven

."
.

minded

that their service sur-

other places. For

we

can-

not forget that beauty."


In the Byzantine world, however, those

most concerned with the

spiritual life

who were

were not the

monks and nuns, whose importance cannot be overestimated. The monasteries

official

clergy but the

were not simply refuges

from the hardships of

for those seeking escape

life;

they were the forging

houses of what the Byzantines regarded as the


99

highest types of humanity.

God's

The emperor might be

man especially

but the saint or holy

elect,

he came from some rocky fastness or desert

if

cave was something more. He was

had broken through the barrier between

God and had restored,


of human nature.
This
filled

is

ranks of society.

devoutly, in search of a

Others saw

itence.

in

life

Many

entered

of humility

it

and pen-

a refuge from disgrace,

it

grinding poverty, or the overwhelming burdens of


public

others viewed

office. Still

it

means

as a

attaining high ecclesiastical advancement;

of

By-

in

zantium, most of the bishops were recruited from


the monasteries. Monastic
tages:

life

offered other advan-

monks were exempt from

and the monasteries had

wealth.

Over

the centuries, the

asteries

grew

to

emperor

as

military service,

disposal

their

at

which formed the core of

tracts of land,

power

vast

their great

of the

mon-

Nicephorus Phocas could not help but


10th Century: "The

of the evangelical virtues;

monks

possess none

they think of nothing

save the acquisition of land, the erecting of huge


buildings and the purchase of vast
horses, cattle, camels

and every kind of

All their energies are devoted to their

of

livestock.

own

enrich-

no way

differs

from that

of the people living in the world."

"What

a contrast

ment, so that their

between

life

in

this frivolous existence

the holy [men]

who

and the

lives of

past centuries dwelt

in

Egypt, Palestine, and Alexandria, those whose

al-

in

and demoniac.

Hemmed

where

of the esteem

it

held in the eyes of the

people. For them, the

monk was

common

a present source of

by the demons, tempted

man

could a

else

bidding?

to their

sick-

who

turn but to those

disease came, the holy

If

the sick with his healing grace.

landowners attempted

or even

if

and

the greed

had the

If

to extort or

man

cured

taxgatherers or

oppress the poor

the emperor himself tried to abuse his

office the ascetic saint

was there

to

defend against

injustice of the powerful. For

what

hands of the mightiest

ascetic to fear at the

of earthly beings?

He had

world and

ways. All that could be taken

all

its

now was

from him

already renounced the

his mortal

through violence

lose that

life,

come

and

if

he were

upon him,

might

crown and so

to be-

an even stronger focus of popular worship.

monas-

In addition to their spiritual gifts, the

provided most of the fine scribes and

teries

who

who

wrote the hymns and composed

somber

the liturgical music, so lyrical even in their

profundity;

who made some

frescoes.

It

of the finest mosaics

was through such people as these

that the springs of inspiration flowed

Byzantium was indebted

for

much

and

that

to

them

was most

achievement. Most of the great monas-

vital in its
tic

artists

created Byzantium's magnificent illuminated

manuscripts;

and

to

it

laid

well be but to gain a martyr's

centers of the Byzantine world, at Constanti-

nople or elsewhere, have

haps the greatest of them

whose

earliest existing

this present day.

none

through divine power could subject even the demons

963 by

excesses, monasticism lost

in

and overcome, dragged into misfortune or

gels than of men."


its

was

life

constant war between myriad unseen forces, divine

most immaterialized existence was more that of an-

But despite

100

numbers

the mediator for

them between earth and Heaven. Mortal

such heights that even so pious an

be forthright in his description of monastic practices in the

among whom he dwelt and

ple

ness,

monks and nuns fulThe cloister held an at-

all

the Christian ideal.


all

man and

or remade, the full integrity

not to say that

traction for

who

person

mercy, miracle and guidance, the father of the peo-

St.

Byzantine

works of

now
all,

disappeared. But perthat

on Mount Athos,

monastery was founded

Athanasius the Athonite, survives

spirit,

It

and

is

living

a treasure

monument

to

in
to

the

house of countless

art that testify to the creative fertility of

the Byzantine monastic tradition.

THE HERMIT LUKE,

his

arms raised

in

a blessing, looks

down on

his church.

Above him

is

Saint James.

A PICTURE-BOOK CHURCH
Everywhere

in the empire,

Byzantines worshiped in churches that glowed with

the subdued and golden light of mosaics. Often every wall, every niche and curving surface

was covered with pictures of

together by devoted artists and monks.

were prescribed and arranged according


lection

still

in existence

is

Biblical events

From
to

that of the 11th

an

the

and

official

scheme. The

finest

Century monastery church

Greece, dedicated to Hosios Loukas, the holy hermit Luke.

comprise

personalities, pieced

Ninth Century on, these scenes

Its

such colin Phocis,

150-odd mosaics

textbook of the faith and a treasure house of Middle Byzantine

art.

101

A MASTER PLAN FOR MOSAICS


It

was Michael

III,

it

is

now believed, who established the official scheme of


when he built the Church of Our Lady of the Pharos

Byzantine church decoration

palace in Constantinople. Thereafter worshipers, whether they could read

at his

or not, could

lift

up

their eyes in

any church

in the

empire and see

all

about them

in precisely placed pictures the intricate theology of their faith.

The

general outlines of this hierarchical scheme are indicated in the floor plan

of Hosios

From
saints

Loukas below and the cutaway drawing of half the church

at right.

the lower reaches of the church, representing the earthly world, mosaics of

and martyrs, prophets and archangels

rise

in order of

Heaven, represented by the great dome, from which Christ


verse looks down. Scenes

from Christ's

life

fill

as

importance into
Lord of the Uni-

out the curved corners, or

dome and other areas in the church. The bema, or sanctuary, is covered by a smaller dome which shows the Twelve Apostles at the
Pentecost, the founding of the Church on earth. From the vault of the apse,

"squinches," below the

Mary, Mother

of

God, dominates the sanctuary and the view of the worshipers.

Mother

of

Cod

nip.
The Pentecost
Fathers of the Church
Early bishops and preachers

Christ Pantocrator

Archangels and prophets


Scenes from Christ's early

life

Warrior saints

Hosios Loukas

Monks and

martyrs

Christ's

^^
102

Death and Resurrection

Virgin martyrs

Apostles

NARTHEX

103

In the entry, niches reveal the

1 o the

doorway
saics:

left
is

the

drama

of death

and resurrection

of Hosios Loukas' main

one of the church's key moCrucifixion.

He

eyes are closed;

is

In

it

Christ's

already

dead.

Seen mourning below the cross are His


Mother, Mary, and

St.

John, His most

Above the cross are


sun and moon with human faces.

beloved Apostle.
the

,^j

da

^^

in an

act of love

washes the

and humility on the eve of His agony, Jesus

feet of Peter as

Ranged around

another Apostle unties a sandal.

the arch framing the niche are the Apostles

Luke, Simon and Matthew; the two at the sides, as in

many

Byzantine church mosaics, are made narrow and elongated so


they will shrink

to

proper proportions

when

seen from below.

THENARTHEX

contains what most art historians

consider the finest mosaics in the church. The


area

is

also located in gray on the plan above.

^^^^^^H

J\loof and austere. Christ as Lord of the Universe faces the narthex above the center door-

way, with angels and the Virgin Mary above


His head.

He

is

passage in His

calling attention to the Biblical


left

hand:

"I

the world; he that followeth


in

am

Me

the light of

shall not

darkness but shall have the light of

walk
life."

According

to Christian doctrine, fol-

lowing Christ's death.

He descended
who had

into Hell to free all the souls

been lingering there since Adam's


ginal sin. Above, King

King David (with beard) watch as


sus leads

Adam and

ori-

Solomon and
Je-

Eve out of con-

finement. Below Christ's feet are the

broken keys, locks and doors of

Hell.

1 he niche at the right end of the narthex contains another


scene of the Lord and His Apostles. Christ has pulled back

His robes and at His bidding the doubtful Thomas,


refused to believe that
the arch

He had

risen,

is

who had

touching His wounds.

above are figures of Thomas. Bartholomew and

On

Philip.

105

Below the main dome

of the church,

curved corner scenes portray the birth,


presentation and baptism of Christ

THE NAOS, or main


to

hall of the church, rises

support the central dome,

its

square shape

converted into an octagon by arches crossing


each corner and forming small half-domes, or
squinches. In each of these concave surfaces,

mosaics depict early events in Christ's

life.

^-J

in one squinch Christ

is

shown being immersed by John

the

Baptist in the waters of the Jordan while angels hold His


clothes.

The Holy

Spirit descends

a dove bearing an olive branch.


at

Him from above

"Thou

106

art

My

represents

upon Jesus

in the

form of

The heavenly Hand pointing

God

the Father,

beloved Son; with Thee

am

who

proclaims:

well pleased."

^'-^

J\ mosaic

of the Nativity

shows

Mary busy

caring for the

newborn

who

is

]esus,

singled out by the Star of Bethle-

hem, and

a haloed

shown being bathed

is

pensive Joseph

sits at

the

at right.

left.

Behind

Joseph, the hAagi, bearing gifts, approach


in

adoration while shepherds

the far right

move

and angels hover

in

from

in the sky.

in grave dignity heightened by the curve


of the squinch

itself,

which bends the

ures reverently toward one


is

brought

On

to the

fig-

another Jesus

temple for presentation.

the right, Joseph bears the tradition-

al offering of

two pigeons. At

left,

Simeon,

a high priest, prepares to take the Child

from Mary as Anna, a prophetess, watches.

In the sanctuary, mosaics honor the Apostles and other holy

men

and, above

all,

Mary, Mother of God


AN UPWARD VIEW
(right)

into the sanctuary's ceiling

shows the Apostles

and the Virgin

in the

in the

small

dome

half-dome of the apse.

1 he smaller of Hosios Loukas' two domes, located

above the
the

Holy

altar, depicts the Pentecost,

Spirit on the Apostles.

in a circle, starting
ter right)

(center

the descent of

They are assembled

with the white-bearded Peter (cen-

and moving counterclockwise around

left).

Tongues of

them the power

to

fire

to

Paul

are descending, giving

go forth and convert

all nations.

vj

the half-dome covering the apse, the half-circle

that terminates the sanctuary,


as the

Mother of God and

Mary

is

enthroned both

Protectress of the Church.

Here she dominates the view of most worshipers,

though her position

is

al-

theologically second to that of

Christ at the apex of the main dome. In her arms she

108

holds the Infant,

whose hand

is

raised

in

blessing.

m
^

din
D

ti

J\

medallion of

St.

Eleutherius (top), a Second Century Bishop of

Rome, appears on the high wall

to the right of the sanctuary.

one of some 140 saints whose memories are evoked

whose

portraits appear in the church.

with hands raised above Darius'


lously tame. This subject
tors; Daniel's

Below him

fierce lions

was beloved of

who

He

in the liturgy

is

is

and

the wise Daniel,

are turned miracu-

the Byzantine church decora-

escape was believed to prefigure the resurrection of Christ.

109

'

>,,
(.-

*.^

i,'

'

THE ALMIGHTY FIGURE


IN THE DOME

'(

At the center of the main dome of every Byzantine


church, in the highest place of honor,

is

the figure

of Christ as "Pantocrator," or Lord of the Universe.

What
looked

the original Pantocrator in Hosios Loukas


like,

no one knows,

stroyed. But the one in the

Daphni

still

exists

early brilliance.
its

It

and

is

for

it

was long ago de-

Church

shown

Si'

of the Virgin at

here restored to

its

ranks as the greatest portrait of

kind, and as one of the most powerful surviving

works

of

Middle Byzantine

art.

J\ * ^4wk

to
t

down

into the very souls of the worshipers

V \^*n

standing on the church floor below Him. Unhappily, the subtle

achievement of the

artist

who

cre-

ated this exceptional figure cannot be discerned in

other Byzantine mosaics


terpiece

must remain,

still

as a

110

in existence. His

famous

said, "lonely in its greatness

i.* 1

Christ's piercing

brown eyes sad, remote, loving and severe seem


look

mas-

art historian

has

and sacred austerity."

../ V

^^
^ *

'

I,

i
^P\^

'C-

>

\m. A.

Glimpses of the

lives led

Byzantium may

of

women

by the men and

be obtained from various

still

sources: accounts of the various saints, manuals

of private and public law, historians' chronicles,


secular and religious literature. In addition, some-

thing of the texture of Byzantine

life

lurks

still

in

unexpected corners of the Greek world today

in

monastery courtyards on Mount Athos,

the

in

cobbled lanes of the small ruined hillside town of


Mistra, on a spur of the Taygetus Mountains near

and

the remains of ancient Sparta, in the color

Aegean

of the caiques of remote

lines

fishing ports.

we can extract information


about an astonishing number of aspects of the daily
From

THE ROUND
OF BYZANTINE LIFE

life

the evidence

of the Byzantines and of the social and

mercial structure of their society.


deal about the

amusements

We know

of the rich

alike, of their dress, of the place of

we can

zantine society. Moreover,

many

that occurred in

long

of the empire.

life

com-

good

and poor

women

By-

in

follow changes

of these things during the

We know

the regulations

that governed construction in Constantinople

we can

and

appreciate the practical demonstration of

the Byzantines' concern for the elderly and the sick

among them. The elaborate commercial


of the empire,

which centered around the great

of Constantinople,
tail.

We

is

can piece together information about the

that the religious belief

countryside

we

Finally,

around which the cul-

Byzantium revolved was as shot through with

superstition as

rich

with gold or silver

The

in the

life

from the commercial hub.

regions, far

ture of

city

spelled out in considerable de-

circumstances of Byzantine

know

organization

life

brocade

shot

is

through

fibers.

was neither tedious

of the Byzantines

nor uniform, as Edward Gibbon dourly described


It

abounded with opportunities

and independence. Even

if

for self-expression

the Byzantines

were

taught by their religion and only too often had

confirmed in bitter experience that

exposed

to endless

that short of the

expect

little

Heaven man could

of

tranquillity or stability,

prevent them from making

life

in this

scene from an

Uth Century

this

did not

an occasion for col-

orful pageantry or festive gaiety.

DANCERS AND MUSrOANS perform

it

humanity was

and suffering, and

tribulation

Kingdom

it.

They had an un-

illu-

minated manuscript. Their circular dance, musical instruments and headdress recall customs of ancient Greece, a major source of Byzantine culture.

failing instinct for beauty,

and

it

is

inconceivable

that this instinct did not affect their personal

life.

113

too, giving

something of the texture of

it

conscious work of

self-

Preoccupied with rehgion and fate though they


were, the Byzantines nevertheless found

Much

relax.

of their social

On

of-doors.

every social

easy to

it

level, friends

and neigh-

and

and

talking, often

and restaurants;

available in cafes
tables

were moved outside

facilities for

meeting in the

streets

open forums. Refreshments were

in the great

games

some

at

of these

good weather, and

in

dominoes and check-

similar to

were available. For those seeking

Blues later absorbed the other two.

Each of the surviving two factions had

its

own

demarch. Beneath him there served

leader, or

hierarchy of dignitaries and employees:


ers, notaries, archivists, heralds, poets,

organists, painters

treasur-

musicians,

and sculptors, charioteers,

cir-

cus performers (for the intervals between races),


officials (to

keep order

in the

Hippodrome), stable-

hands and others.

to escape the

In addition to staging the chariot races in the

congestion of Constantinople, there were pleasant

Hippodrome, the factions performed other func-

walks along country roads extending beyond the

tions; they

ers

city walls,
ter's

gardens to

edge, untouched

stroll

through near the wa-

woods and

fields that

could

be reached by sailing a short distance from the


city.

Hunting was popular and the

rich played a

form of polo.
For those

preferred city

life,

distractions

strolling niusicians

and itinerant

jugglers. Public baths, like the

rooms

European spas so much

at the

official

in

pump

vogue

in

and
to

their hair,

special clothes cloaks

grow long and hang down

was given

it

ballet

and musical revues. Circuses

and carnivals were held frequently, and jousting


in

the Western

leading sport and the great focus of the

life

was the chariot racing

its

was

at the back. It

main

outlet,

er taxes, or the

On

and unwise was the em-

refused to listen to the people's voice as

was expressed by one

astir.

of the Byzantine masses

who

whether the question

manner were some-

times staged.

cropped close in front, was allowed

through them that popular feeling in Byzantium

ting for social gatherings. There were theaters for

The

They wore

and shoes of the barbarian Huns, tunics with wide

peror

tournaments

in his cav-

they proclaimed the

acclamations or pieces of verse prepared for

state occasions.

the 18th and 19th Centuries, also provided a set-

pantomimes,

formed the emperor's escort

alcades and in processions,

billowing sleeves fastened tightly at the wrist

who

were provided almost daily by

a racing

Above

or another of the factions,

at issue

was cheaper

conduct of an unjust

day the whole

the imperial

box

city
at

fluttered the emperor's standard.

into the tiers of stone seats,

oil,

few-

official.

was tense and

the

Hippodrome

Crowds swarmed

and foreign ambassa-

held at the Hippodrome. For these races a special

dors took the places reserved for them. In the seats

bureaucracy developed, one that involved the most

closest to the arena,

important citizen bodies of the empire, the demes

mingled with the pungent dust of cedar and strewn

(from demos, the people) or factions, as they have

with flowers, sat the members of the factions with

since been called.

ported

Roman

its

own

The

factions, each of

entries in the races,

times, but at

which sup-

had existed

in

Byzantium they became so

powerful that they had to be formed into organi114

the lines of local militia.

originally four factions the

Greens, Blues, Reds and Whites the Greens and

was conducted out-

life

bors depended on each other for the pleasure of


strolling

somewhat on

zations run

Although there were

art.

where fresh yellow sand was

their colors: the Blues to the right of the imperial

box, the Greens to the

left.

Finally,

surrounded by

generals and patricians, the emperor appeared.


a

given signal,

At

four doors beneath the royal box

were opened, and four chariots, each drawn by


four horses, dashed into the arena.

and the

of hooves

To

the thunder

frantic cries of the factions, the

races began.

They continued

all

during the morning and

ernoon. After the fourth

came an

race

aft-

interval.

Clowns, acrobats or parades of exotic animals

di-

verted the spectators as they ate their frugal meals

dried meat, salted

fish,

cooked beans, watermel-

ons, lemons, oranges. Frequently hams, fruits and

vegetables were distributed at the emperor's expense. After the interval, the races were resumed,

and once more the roaring populace rocked

in its

sand flew beneath the horses' hooves.

seats as the

power

In later centuries the


ed.

But the Hippodrome

til

the capture of the city

though by then

it

was

of the factions fad-

remained

itself

feats of

use un-

in

by the Latins

in

1204,

horsemanship more

than chariot racing that drew the acclamations of


the crowd. In the last years of the empire the stadi-

um

was

almost deserted, though young princes

left

and scions of the noble houses

mounts

there, or played polo.

In the

nople,

exercised their

still

Hippodrome,

the

clothes

as elsewhere in Constanti-

worn by Byzantines revealed

By

their place in society.

the time of Justinian the

upper classes had discarded the Roman toga and


replaced

Toward
dresses
ionable.
A GOLD NECKLACE, made up of decorative pendants and a cross on a chain
of delicate leafy design,

was one of the many exquisite

worn by Byzantine women. The Byzantines


lavish costumes,

also were

pieces of jewelry

known

for their

which they decorated with precious stones and

pearls.

it

with a long elaborate coat of brocade.

the end of the empire

turbanlike head-

and fur-trimmed peaked hats became fash-

From

the Seventh Century on, beards were

common, shaving being considered


ern practice. Artisans

sleeved, knee-length tunic of


at the waist

vulgar West-

and slaves wore

short-

undyed wool girdled

and topped with

hood against the

cold.

Women

used

a scarf as a

headdress, winding

about the head, with the end falling


ders.

Over

a tunic they

wore

that could completely conceal

it

to the shoul-

cloak with a hood


their

heads.

They
115

also

wore jewelry: bracelets of gold with repousse

decoration; necklaces of precious stones of gold or

gold earrings of intricate

silver;

shaped into

work

filigree

or

half-moon which was pierced into

pattern of aninials or birds separated by a cross.

Cosmetics were used. The one fault that Bertrandon


de

Brocquiere, a visitor to Constantinople early

la

in the 15th

whom

Century, could find with the empress

he watched leave Hagia Sophia was that she

had painted her


not any need of

The

face,

was

more

serene, less austere character.

in her marriage

py

to a

Hap-

handsome husband, she

devoted herself to Psellus' education. She too

them

ceived the poor at her table, serving

and washing

re-

herself

their feet. After Psellus' sister died,

Theodota was so overwhelmed with

grief that she

retired to a convent. There, after a short novitiate


in

which she weakened

by abstaining from

herself

even the barest necessities of

woman

in the social struc-

Theoctista and Theodota were, of course, over-

relatively favored one.

shadowed by the philanthropy practiced by the

The

it."

Byzantium was

Her dowry was safeguarded by

law that required

her husband to settle on her sufficient property to

equal the dowry's value. She could under certain

circumstances control both her

own and

her hus-

life,

she died.

charitable activities of generous

church and prominent

citizens.

that construction of hospitals

The

women

records

and homes

like

show

for the

aged or infirm was a frequent assignment for the


builders

and

architects of Byzantium.

The

hospital

band's property, and with regard to her children's

of the monastery of St.

actions she enjoyed equal authority with her hus-

dowed by John

band.

contained 50 beds divided into five wards, with

Woman's

role in society varied according to her

The empress,

Savior Pantocrator, en-

Comnenus

II

in the 12th

women.

was attended by ten male doc-

and

for

opportunities for action and influence independent

tors

and one female doctor, with

of course,

of the emperor; ladies of noble families

own

had

their

staff of

of

and

a professor

the social scale

women

raised their families, suc-

Theoctista, mother of the

famous Abbot Theodore,

of the monastery of Stoudion, was

notable ex-

ample. She was abstinent and charitable, sharing


her board with the poor and the outcast.

On

feast

days she gave her servants richer food fish, fresh


meat, chicken and better
bread, bacon

wine instead

of the usual

and cheap wine. Occasionally she

would beat her

servants, but then she

on her knees before them, imploring

would

fall

their pardon.

of

new

doctors.

ments made

of

Many

herbalist

endow-

support of

insti-

tutions of this sort.

While charitable work was

largely the province

of private benefactors or the Church,

everyday

much

of the

of the healthy and provident was

life

organized by a system of guilds, administered by


public

known

officials.

as

of the system.
peror:

handbook issued about 900 A.D.,

"The Book
It

of the Prefect," gives details


a preface

by the em-

things and

made order

opens with

"Having created

all

and harmony reign

in the world,

Law with His own

finger

everything and devote themselves to God.

food,

records survive of

specifically for the

abandon

to

supplementary

medicine for the instruction

In the end she persuaded herself, her husband, her


three brothers-in-law and her children

assistants, special inspec-

the mainly vegetarian

tors

Lower down

cored the poor, and often worried about their souls.

It

male and female

functions in imperial ceremonies correspond-

ing to those of their male counterparts.

Century,

separate wards for surgical cases, for medical cases

had important

station.

116

lus,

though "assuredly she had

legal place of a

ture of

Theodota, mother of the historian Michael Psel-

forth for

all

God engraved

on the Tables, and

to see so that

it

the

set

it

might prevent by

A NOMISMA. or bezant, bears the portrait of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. So stable was the value of this gold coin that

it

became a medium of exchange from Western Europe to Central


Asia, and was used in such remote lands as Russia and India.

allocated to

though grocers, with

it,

more

their

per-

ishable goods, were allowed to have a shop any-

where. Various unpaid public services, including

were required of the guilds.

police work, also

The
happy

members

discipline the

of the

human fam-

from hurling themselves one upon the other

ily

and the stronger from crushing the weaker. ...


for this reason that

is

It

has appeared good to our

it

Serenity also to formulate the dispositions which


result

from the Law, so that the human race

governed as

is

fitting

its

own

guild.

Some

21 major

guilds some with subguilds controlled the

No man

and tradesmen.

the artisans

all

life

of

could be-

long to two. Son generally succeeded father in the

same
city

trade.

was

It

the prefect, or eparch, of the

who, among other functions, administered the

system of guilds: though each guild could appoint

own

its

endorsed by the prefect. In

to be
fairs

president, the appointment probably

had

fact, all the af-

of the guilds were virtually dependent on the

prefect.

Combining

in his office the roles of chief

justice, chief of police

commercial and

human

and regulator of the


traffic,

most important functionary


the emperor,

moment

the prefect

in the

city's

was the

city except for

who nominated him and

could at any

ished by expulsion, and this


tirement. Each

own

member

meant compulsory

of a guild

had

re-

to practice

trade: the goldsmith could deal only

with gold, the candlemakers with candles, soap-

makers with soap. Wages and hours were regulated.

The guildsman owned

his

own

capital, tools,

raw

materials and the articles he fabricated. There were

no middlemen,

for each

its

own

were reserved for use


It

was

in the

Roman

in

The

best silk

and certain dyes

the imperial household.

law, perhaps, that the state had

on the

greatest impact

its

The

enterprises.

the imperial factory,

of law revised

than Christian in

most people.

of

lives

by Justinian was more


the op-

despite

spirit:

position of the Church, divorce and slavery were

both retained;

same time wives, children and

now had more

slaves
tled

at the

rights.

Most

cases were set-

lower courts in Constantinople and

in

provinces, but the

taken to

more important

the

suits could be

high court of 12 judges, or to the em-

peror himself,

who was

the ultimate judge of ap-

peals. In criminal cases the

punishments were

fines,

the confiscation of property, death, or the loss of

an eye or

hand. After the Eighth Century the

death penalty was reserved for murder,

and desertion and was used

less

and

treason

less

Some murderers were even spared on the


that they become monks and turn over

guildsman offered

his prod-

In his control of

and commercial
public
tions,

all

life,

often.

condition
half their

works the

aspects of Byzantine public


the

emperor also undertook

building of

palaces,

ture of armaments.

The
strict,

building regulations in Constantinople were

though

it

is

impossible to

know how

strin-

gently they were applied. Streets had to be 12 feet


wide. Balconies on private houses had to be 15

above the ground and were not

uct directly to the consumer. Each guild could carry

feet

within 10 feet of the opposite wall.

trade only in the particular quarter of the city

fortifica-

aqueducts, roads, as well as the manufac-

on

its

consumer

property to their victim's heirs.

dismiss him.

Any infringement of guild regulations was pun-

only his

imports and

all

imposed other taxes on

had

state also

came from

The body

not oppress another."

Every industry had

and

exports

on

goods, inheritances, land and serf households.

is

and so that one person does

state levied 10 per cent

to

extend to

Owners

of pri117

vate houses with an unobstructed view of the sea


(or of

gardens or pubUc monuments) had a right

view though

to protect that
if

anyone claimed
had

or Ajax, he

to

tion to appreciate

The

state alone

principal unit

was

of gold. This coin

monument

Nicephorus
It

was

was before the introduction


implements. But the

tural

tates

minted the gold coinage, whose

some 65 grains

a coin containing

was known

in

Byzantium

as the

For seven cen-

as the bezant.

to that of

handsome,

merchant, trying

to

brilliant coin;

its

one Byzan-

man

a greater

for the

is

it

at least as

it

of mechanical agriculof the landed pro-

life

where

large

es-

developed from the Ninth Century onward,

As

luxury.

Century one

agri-

was not the wealthiest could

give a dinner party for 36 guests,

around

and

of considerable affluence

early as the Eighth

culturistand he

a table of ivory

who were

seated

and gold. This same land-

owner could count among

head of

his stock 12,000

sheep, 800 oxen and 900 horses and mules, as well


as a large

convince the King of Cey-

monarch was

as

prietor, particularly in Anatolia,

must have been one

lon that the Byzantine

number

of serfs.

Since the entire

of

life

aristocrat, goldsmith,

Byzantines artisan,

all

seaman, general, mother of

family was dominated by

than the King of Persia, successfully used the im-

pressive bezant as a clincher. In the Eighth Century,

phere was impregnated with a sense of the super-

when

natural.

an,

the Venerable Bede, the great English histori-

wished

to praise a British princess,

her as being "pure as a bezant."

It

he described

was not

until

the 11th Century that the coinage began to lose

its

universal respect and trust.

The empire's complex commercial


the

was cen-

life

main routes between Europe and Asia,

unusually well situated for such a


points of the compass
to

pour

their

came

stition.

Often

it is

and

this deteriorated into arrant super-

Byzantium was seldom

free

from the threat

doom never

far off

hardly surprising that nervous tensions were

times in

and

the atmos-

These expressed themselves

what appears

to

at

some

have been wanton cruelty,

at others in recourse to astrology

and necro-

was

mancy, divination and black magic. Dreams and

all

visions, the Byzantines believed, foretold events to

fleets

come. Inanimate objects might have some crucial

it

From

role.

the caravans

religion,

of invasion; with the specter of

generated.

tered in Constantinople. Strategically located astride

merchandise into the customs houses,

influence on a person's

life

on the

or even

fate of

Books on the significance of numbers or

depots and workshops of the capital. Although

the empire.

many

on the meanings of thunder or earthquakes or the

of these goods were passed on to the West,

a large percentage remained to provide the


terials for the capital's

tricts also

had

articles either for

for re-export.

their

raw ma-

own workshops, where

were converted into finished

consumption or

Other

cities

they

home

and

dis-

workshops. By the 11th Cen-

lunar phases, were widely read.


trade,

though probably not

than they do in

many

Constantinople

omens, concealed

plied their

any greater extent

places today.

itself

in

to

Mediums

was believed
mysterious

to be full of

inscriptions

or

tury Thebes and Corinth, for instance, had their

obscure bas-reliefs carved on statues or columns.

own

Could these have been deciphered,

silk industries,

in the

and carpets were manufactured

Peloponnese.

For the Byzantine peasant and the small land118

must have been much

it.

Botaniatus, the bezant retained

III

of

a statue of Achilles

from the reign of Constantine

turies,

tine

such as

that

life

Turkish or Balkan peasant today or

prove that he had enough educa-

nomisma, elsewhere

value.

was stipulated

view of

a direct

historical significance,

it

owner

might have predicted

in fact,

they

for the inhabitants the ter-

rifying last days of their city.

A DEVOUT CHURCHGOER, wearing a cowl

like her Byzantitie forebears, returns

from Palm Sunday services.

ISLAND OF THE PAST


In the heartland of

exactly as

it

windmills

still

cobblers

Byzantium, villages

exist

still

where

did under the empire. In the Greek island

still

grind grain to flour, housewives

still

life

goes on almost

community

bake bread

in

of

Olympos,

outdoor ovens,

make shoes by hand. Olympos has not been entirely passed over by
its men wear factory-made clothes, for example, and gas burn-

the 20th Century,


ers are in use.

of

Olympos

But

in agriculture

and

religion, in

are scarcely different from those

customs and outlook, the people

who

lived there a

thousand years ago.


119

THE IMPERIAL EAGLE, which appears

in old

Byzantine

illuminations such as the one pictured at right, can


still

be seen decorating the buildings of

right).

The two-headed

bird

was adopted

by the Palaeologus family, the

last

Olympos (far
emblem

as an

Byzantine dynasty,

to symbolize an empire that looked both

West and

East.

rjs

>.JN

I.

i:-^?->*;
;^-

"^^ii*

WE^i9l'S.,'

-..->

i^

'^-s.'Si*'...

i:.:^

:-i<:i'.

"Tx

ks::^.'
*''/d

W^-i*.^'t.

^^ -''

.^'-y,

'^'r^'

n.>

,.^

">'.>

''vr

ECHOES OF EMPIRE
IN A RURAL OUTPOST
Olympos, clinging
of

mountainside on the island

to a

Karpathos between Crete and Rhodes,

community

ably the most isolated

fly

the Byzantines,

prob-

The

church and the airplanes that

electric lights in the

occasionally

is

Greece.

in

overhead would have astounded

most modern conveniences

but

have not reached the

For example, there

village.

is

only one telephone in town, and the mailman ar-

from the town of Pigadia (pop. 1,000) only

rives

once a week (he must travel on foot since no roads


connect the two communities). Such isolation has
kept

Olympos much

built

on

As

in

C-fi^K'^!^'->

its

it

was when

was

it

first

present site in the Ninth Century A.D.

Byzantine days, some houses are

of sun-dried bricks

of each house

called a "sofa,"

still

made

and roofed with wooden beams

covered with straw,

room

as

dirt

and

and

grass; the

one large

contains a raised platform,

still

small family

and

are a courtyard, a barn

altar.

a kitchen

the meals are prepared.

Food

the family or bartered;

many goods

either

is

Outside

wing where

in

grown by

Olympos

are exchanged, rather than bought, since there


little

is

currency in the village.

The

villagers

supplement

hunting wild birds,


pire,

mend

and by

their

a favorite sport

meager

diet

during the em-

fishing. Before they set sail the

the nets they have

by

woven and

men

the fish traps

they have fashioned out of split cane and twine.

The Byzantines prepared


actly the
ly

for the

same way, and they

morning hours, the

to the local

day

at sea in ex-

offered up, in the ear-

identical prayers for safety

protector of fishermen, St. Nicholas.

A MOUNTAIN vrUACE of whitewashed buildings and terraced


Olympos overlooks the Aegean. The village, originally

farms,
built

on the shore, was moved up

after repeated pirate

raids.

121

BAKING BREAD, women work before an outdoor oven that serves several

WINDING YARN,

fl

woman

of

Olympos-like

the Byzantine

woman

families

in

shown above her holds a crude spindle


wool have been drawn and twisted into strands.

the 13th Century miniature

onto which tufts of

^FS^^^-]
rvr-j

TENDING THE CROPS, a farm woman strides through fields below


the Byzantine
the town. Her scarflike headdress dates hack to
veriod, as does the

mattock she carries for turning the rocky

soil.

^^'

g^

yf'.,^ _

>&.*
.*;.

111
?**.

_^':*^.

r'':.*>r

'*^^-

v>

TIMELESS TASKS OF
Farmers were for centuries the backbone of the
Byzantine empire, and they are still the main support of local village economies. In former times the
crops and livestock they raised fed not only their
families but also provided for the aristocracy

and

hundreds of monastic establishments. The heavy


taxes they paid financed the large standing armies
that guarded Byzantium's frontiers

and supported

the glittering extravagance of the emperor's court.

HOME AND FARM


Most
ed,

of these burdens have long since been

but the farmers of

same

tasks.

Olympos

When women

chores baking

in

still

labor at the

are not doing domestic

communal

ovens, embroidering,

weaving cloth on hand looms-they


beside their husbands.

lift-

toil in

the fields

hilly Olympos, where


plows cannot be used, the villagers must do all their
farming by hand, relying on the simple tools of

their

In

ancestors-hoes, mattocks, sickles and scythes.

m^^?^

/
k

ORNATE BREAD

^or Easter

is

made with

\Xi^i>^

swirling designs around an egg.

PREPARING FOR EASTER

As

in

The

Byzantine times, the bread

similarities

are never

is

eaten during the Easter

Sunday meal, which

between imperial and present-day Olympos

more marked than during the Easter season.

as their ancestors did, the

women bake

Just

ceremonial loaves of

bread decorated with traditional designs. The day before Eas124

also includes stuffed goat, thick

ter

each family

kills a

will eat after the

COLORING EGGS, housewives dye many of them

cream and wine.

lamb or young

Lenten

fast

goat, the

first

ends on Sunday. The

meat

woman

it

of

the house displays her prized possessions, such as heirloom

dishes and

woven bedspreads, and puts

flowers around the

family

altar.

floor to roof

red to recall the blood Christ shed on the Cross.

She and her husband also scrub

their

house from

and whitewash the walls inside and out. Finally,

early

on Easter day, they welcome

come

to

exchange

gifts, kisses

in their neighbors,

and wishes

for a

happy

who

holiday.
125

IN

SOLEMN CONVOCATION, worshipers surround

the Crucifix on

of Christ, the priest has removed the cross from the altar

Good

Friday.

and has placed

it

To commemorate the death


in the center of the

church.

ICONS OF SAINTS, wrapped


cloths, are carried

in

bright

from the church

to

the village cemetery for services honor-

ing the dead.

The devout pay

privilege of carrying the icons

step on the

way back

to

for the

up each

the church.

BOY CHORISTERS sing hymns of joy during the "Christ


at midnight to
Easter.

126

Risen" service held


the beginning of

The young singers

simplified
tions

is

mark

Byzantine

when they

start to learn

musical

nota-

are only six or seven.

*r^

THE PAGEANTRY OF HOLY WEEK


On Good

Friday the villagers

mourn

the death of

Christ and on Saturday night they celebrate His


Resurrection.

The congregation

gathers in church

near midnight in total darkness; as Easter


begins, the priest lights candles held

On

Sunday

by the

faith-

Byzantium, they believe the icons can ward


drought. Thus,

rain.

to

regular

religious

The congregation's deep personal

ment during Holy Week


zantine poet:

carry icons to the cemetery. Like the farmers of

together with

the next Tuesday, the people of

addition

services at the graves, the priest says prayers for

Olympos

ful.

in

off

involve-

recalls the lines of a

"Yesterday,

you! With

Christ,

you

By-

was buried

arising,

arise."
127

m
'fiti--

^
Si

/i

T**>

.-:*fr

m:J

'^
to>

AN IMPERIAL COUPLE, Romanus and Eudoxia,

are

crowned by

Christ in a carved ivory relief that dates from the 10th Century.

.^ ^^v:

A TRADITIONAL
WEDDING

*r

Because the Church forbids weddings during Lent,


great

are

many

still

by

arranged

parents almost

the

within the village.

On

groom comes with

band of musicians

down by

the Byzantines.

the

to the bride's

hand-

During the ceremony

the priest leads the couple and


three times around the altar as

songs, throw rice and slap the

always

long-awaited day,

the

home, following an ancient Greek custom


ed

take place just after Easter. Marriages

their

bridal

party

well-wishers chant

groom on

the back.

A VILLAGE COUPLE receives a blessing as they are united

in marriage.

Their crowns of paper and flowers, traditional since Byzantine


times, are joined

by a ribbon signifying the bonds of matrimony.

129

ON A HOMEMADE BAGPIPE,

fashioned from goatskin, a musician plays for the dancers.

AN OLD-STYLE BANQUET

Festivals

IN

AN ANCIENT DANCE,

villagers

and banquets have been

move

favorite

during a banquet

diversion of

Greeks since ancient times. During the empire they gave up


the classical habit of reclining

on couches, and the Church

insisted that the sexes sit at separate tables.

fashion that feasts and spirited dances are


130

in a circle

It is

now

in this

held in

same

Olym-

^B

i-J

'-(

I 'N
^ i^y^y^

>

^\
f^

i^'

^>>

>

iki
A.

1^4

\-.

^??5^;
<

Men

sif

together at tables; fo eaf in public with their wives would violate tnuiitiun.

pos as the climax to weddings or religious holidays.

If

the

held in the church square of

Olympos on

banquet occurs on

the town's memorial day.

memorial day, as

is

the case with the

one shown here, the people eat food which they have placed
that

morning

as

an offering on the graves of

such food eaten on memorial occasions

is

their dead.

One

kolyua, a mixture of

wheat, nuts and fruit which the Byzantine Christians adopted from the pagan Greeks in the Fourth Century.

may

Only men

play the musical instruments; they also take turns im-

provising lyrics for songs to suit the occasionexactly


the Byzantines used to invent verses at feasts

and

as

festivals.

131

A WAYSIDE CHAPEL on

the edge of the village, like a score of other small private chapels in

Olympos, was

built

by a pious townsman

in gratitude for

the help of a taint to

whom

^
.'

V-

..

'

^ \- .----.

he had appealed. In Byzantine timei peaianti often built iuth ihapeli on their property and rededitated then

Vfc

live to

God.

//

Through nearly eleven

centuries,

Byzantine achievements
reflected not only the

the splendor of

in literature

Church, but also the intellectual and


of

empire's aristocracy which

the

The upper

and the

arts

dominance of the Christian


artistic tastes

supported

it.

Byzantium's society was not

level of

simply the possessor of power and prestige;

it

was

also a highly cultivated class, with an almost pas-

sionate regard for learning and a sensitive eye for

beauty.

In education

and

cherished

ously

literature the Byzantines zeal-

Greco-Roman

their

heritage,

studying and preserving for posterity the great

A GLITTERING

writings of the classical past and adding to them

notable contributions of their own.


siastical

CULTURE

and

And

in eccle-

works of art frescoes

architecture and

brilliant mosaics, exquisite carvings

zantines found

its fullest,

good education,

in

most original expression.

ambitious to better himself.

tween

Added

By-

the

Byzantium, was considered

one of the major virtues, and

a disgrace.

ivory,

in

illuminated manuscripts the culture of

to the

To

must

for

anyone

be uneducated was

religious distinction be-

a Christian Byzantine and a barbarian was

an essential feeling of superiority: the Byzantine


believed he

was an educated man, and was con-

vinced that

all

The
a

barbarians were ignorant.

principal requirement of this education

knowledge of

classical

was

culture the speech and

There was

literature of the ancient Hellenic world.

no break with the tradition of Greco-Roman pagan

become the
tian

even among those

civilization,

who were

to

great masters of theology of the Chris-

Church.

Through most

of Byzantine history the course

of studies remained

many changes
tions.

more

or less constant, though

took place in educational institu-

Foremost among the disciplines was gram-

mar, that

is,

the

correct

use of classical Greek.

Until the time of Justinian, students were taught


the use of both Latin
as the

and Greek, but by then Latin

language of the state was dying out. By the

middle of the Seventh Century Greek had completely taken over. But

ern Greek
PRESERVING THE PAb

two monks restore manuscripts

in

in Italy.

Byzantium like

where divergence

in

the

mod-

language

is

an abbey near

Hanging behind them are pages from Ceronticum Quodam,


a 13th Century Byzantine tract on the lives of the apostles and saints.
Padua

state,

still

living

issue had

its

linguistic

problems.

Besides the constantly evolving vernacular Greek


135

closed by Justinian in 529 and

the koine or con\mon tongue of Hellenistic times,

Alexandria, Antioch and Beirut passed into

there
fied

was "Atticized" Greek,

form akin

to the classical

consciously puri-

Greek of Thucydides

and Demosthenes. This was the spoken and writ-

lem hands. Even the university

seems

to

have suffered an

tirely absent,

per class, and provided a model to which the for-

be found for those

with

This demanded an intimate acquaintance

the major classical authors,

all

particularly

with Homer. After the Bible, Homer's

Odyssey were by

The

who

11th Century emperor

the old

men

at

was revived and reorganized, and

tinople

new

again widespread, although

by the Crusaders

saw

passage in which

Helen passing by and

rightly

Many

tellectuals

of the schools

Alex-

at

and Athens, continued

425 Theodosius

school at his
II

new

and

capital,

opened the university

to

in

Con-

at

stantinople. Staffing the university were five

began

much

works of great

Many

Greek

short

by wit and

a phi-

Between the Seventh and Ninth Centu-

One

produced orig-

of the fields

in Atticized

was

Greek have

marked

imagery reminiscent of the

Cavalier poets of 17th Century England.


In the category of popular romances,

which were

written in a more vernacular language, Byzantium

has to

its

credit

one of the most magnificent of

all

epic poems, Digenes Akrites. This 11th Century

work, which has come

down

in several versions,

has been compared in quality to the Song of RoIt

is

dramatic

tale

of the eastern border-

empire (Akrites means "borderer"

in Greek), of a frontier far

from the sophisticated,

dark

formal atmosphere of the Byzantine court. Here,

Athens had already been

where fighting between Moslems and Christians

however, Byzantine learning endured

period: the university at

merit.

poems

a sensitive

land.

ries,

emphasis on the

survived; epigrammatic in style, they are

districts of the

and

in-

themselves "Hellenes" and

secular literature of the Byzantines

and 10 Latin grammarians, two


losopher.

to call

result of the continual

and three Latin sophists or rhetoricians, 10 Greek


jurists

then,

not "Romaioi" (Romans), as they had in the past.

inal

Constantine the Great encouraged education


a

was

was the time when many Byzantine

pride. This

tain fields Byzantine secular writers

flourish until well into the Christian era. In addition,

a final flowering of learning. It

tended to imitate these ancient models. Yet in cer-

blame

pagan times, including those

by founding

The 14th and 15th Cen-

looked back on their pagan heritage with special

Great centers of learning were liberally distrib-

in

another

breach of pro-

this

endured so many woes.

andria, Antioch, Beirut

know

slowly but surely succumbing, that the Byzantines

poetry.

famous

in 1204.

to

of Constantinople

im-

in the

so beautiful

uted throughout the empire.

was

even as the Christian empire of Byzantium was

Nor Greeks nor Trojans one can

alike

it

dim period following the sack

classics,

They have

several

schools were established there. Learning was

As

woman's sake

to

could afford them.

by

murmur:

That, for a

who

defied convention

Iliad the

Troy gaze

of

and private teachers were always

turies

is

were placated by hearing

from the

Nevertheless,

an

Shocked by

priety, the spectators

courtier quote

eclipse.

told of

story

having his beautiful mistress take part


perial procession.

and

Iliad

known and most

far the best

frequently quoted works.

Mos-

Constantinople

In the 11th Century, the university at Constan-

literature adhered.

Included in grammar was the study of classical


literature.

at

the schools at

opportunities for higher learning were never en-

ten language of the court and of the cultured up-

mal secular

136

now

spoken by the Byzantine populace and based on

was sporadic and warfare against robber bands was


constant, a landowning, militaristic aristocracy had

SINGING BY SYMBOLS

emerged. This self-assertive and strongly individ-

world provides the stage for the heroic ex-

ualistic

ploits in love

Included

and war of the border lord Digenes.

among his deeds

Byzantine hymns were composed according

tem of signs, as

Greek words, give the


to

beasts and his merciless warfare against brigands.

ern note

Moslem

father and a Christian

some,

the

ideal

chivalry hand-

of

the

modern

The symbols,
transcription;

buttons.

The

gold,

saddle cloth adorned with turquoise. Di-

bridle of his white horse

genes' wife brings

shown with

are translated at bottom.

MANUSCRIPT

him

a splendid

enameled

is

dowry, and his

paneled with gold and mosaics. After a

is

long and adventurous

comes

or neumes, are

some

broad-chested, clad in a red tunic em-

fair,

house

mod-

"a"determined by a "signature" preceding


hymn (light gray figures at upper right of man-

broidered with pearls and fastened with golden

its

rhythms and accents

intervals,

follow from a starting note in this case the

uscript).

mother, appears as

to a sys-

famous 12th Century

manuscript (below). These signs, drawn above the

and kid-

are his courtship

naping of the lovely Eudoxia, his battles with wild

Digenes, son of a

illustrated in a

ill,

and as he

life,

dies, his

the

warrior-hero be-

wife Eudoxia, unable


TRANSCRIPTION

to bear the separation, falls lifeless beside

History was another secular


Byzantines.

Many

of judgment, scope

field

him.

enriched by the

of their historians wrote

and

critical

works

maturity. Procopius

Century, for example, vigorously

in the Sixth

reI

h e

counted the wars of Justinian. In the 11th Century


Michael Psellus wrote
age,

women
ther.

a celebrated history of that

and Anna Comnena perhaps the greatest of

=>

historians described the reign of her fa-

Emperor Alexius

I.

The memoirs

-/i-

at?
f

peror in 1354, are a valuable source for the troubled

history of the Balkan regions in the 14th Century.

While Byzantine secular

literature

was generally surpassed

in quality

by

religious

crow

tra

many

in

and

verse. St.

Basil,

St.

St.

Gregory of Nyssa,

St.

-
i

ij

it

lit-

John

ftt.rnding

nolf

vluff

ttond
with fttCCIO

Chrysostom,

yv

INTLRV AL^

cnding r<ond

erature, both prose

WITH ACtlNTS

sometimes

reached heights of distinction and originality,

^1^

=H'^T^ nr-f^n^

of John VI

Cantacuzene, written after his abdication as em-

\^

doubled

to h)

Gregory of
drtcrnding nond

Nazianzus,

St.

Maximus

the Confessor these are

but a few of the writers of lucid and profound theological prose

who have few

equals

among

Chris-

(J

lO

ft)

dcndinft ihird

to

1)

M mding

*t ond

notr

valu*

ptolonsd by h)f

tian authors.
137

The
tually

poetical

hymns

unmatched

rank with the great

are also vir-

and some

West-

literary treasures of the

ern world.

They combine

matic and

human

beauty with dra-

lyrical

an

intensity, often expressed in

animated dialogue that


cient

Byzantium

of

in Christian literature,

recalls the

drama

of the an-

Greeks or the medieval miracle plays of West-

Among

ern Europe.

outstanding hymnodists

the

were Romanus the Melode,

Sixth Century dea-

con considered the greatest poet of the Byzantines;


St.

John of Damascus, who

some

in the

hymns

mum,

Ephesus, Miletus and other Greek

Aegean coast

the

and that

of Anatolia.

sprang

region

From

the

near

cities

those centuries

basic

architectural

elements of the Byzantine church multiple vaulting, the

dome and

the centralized plan.

Centralized planning was derived in part from

form of Greek and

the centralized

But

it

was brought about more

common

tom,

Fifth

in

Roman

directly

tombs.

by the cus-

Century Greek

basilicas

(which were oblong churches), of having the Mass

Eighth Century

performed in the whole central nave of the church

of the Byzantine

instead of at one end, while the faithful stood in

Christian Church; Casia, a Ninth Century beauty

the aisles along three sides. But the long, rectangu-

who

lar

created

of the finest

chance to become empress and

forfeited a

devoted her

life

poems, and

St.

nun

as a

to

Simeon the

composing

New

religious

Theologian,

who

Constantinopolitan of the early 11th Century

wrote fervent mystical odes.

plan of the basilica was inappropriate for a serv-

ice that

occupied only the central area of the church,

and Byzantine church builders gradually adopted

more compact and

suitable scheme, one that usually

took the shape of

Greek

cross.

Vaulting, the technique of constructing curved

Not only
tecture, too,

secular

little

archi-

in

Byzantium's achievements in the

outshone

ligious field

Very

and music but

in literature

its

creations for secular use.

architecture of

the

Byzantine

empire survives; such buildings as palaces,

and public baths

are

seem

to

and,

have been unusual

Roman

umphs

of engineering skill than of

design.

Thus our understanding

many

Soon

of

which fortunately

after the

empire was founded,

launched themselves on

among them

architects

highly inventive course,

tinctive ecclesiastical style that

The

changed but

dislittle

roots of the style lay in the

Fourth and Fifth Century architecture of Perga138

in palaces

and

in public build-

but almost never in churches. However, the

idea of a

crowning dome, which

had

tian martyrs,

and

and

is

Persia. It

in the

its

is

kind

a particular

domed

origin in the wide-

Rome

buildings of

a tribute to the genius of

Byzantine

architects that they successfully brought together

these devices the centralized plan, the vault and


the

dome as

new

the key elements of a wholly

architectural style.

Byzantium's architecture,

like its other arts, falls

into three recognizable periods Early,

stand.

and before very long they had established

over a millennium.

tri-

architectural

its

ings,

it

spread use of domes over the tombs of early Chris-

on church buildstill

was frequently used

where

not

of Byzantine ar-

chitecture rests almost exclusively

architecture of the Greek coastal cities,

of vault, seems to have

A num-

aqueducts they are more

lar

masonry, was borrowed from the secu-

ar-

and cisterns of ingenious construction,

but like the

ings,

do

general,

in

in their designs.

ber of utilitarian structures remain,


city walls

villas

known mainly through

cheological excavations

re-

ceilings of

Late each

distinct in

Byzantine period,

its

characteristics.

The

from the early Sixth

mid-Ninth Centuries, was an age of

ment

Middle and

in building design

Early

to

the

lively experi-

and the time

standard centralized church type was

in

which

first

estab-

lished. The finest churches of the era are from the

monumental Hagia So-

reign of Justinian, and the

between 532 and 537

phia, built
is

and sophisticated

enormous

make Hagia Sophia


dome on

tine architecture.

it

complex

is

unique plan,

its

extraordinary richness of

its

in its parts. Its

the

size,

basic outline,

its

carved marble these are

zantine architects to erect a round

Constantinople,

not only the biggest but also one of the finest

examples. Clear in

THE PENDENTTVE was one device used by By-

in

among

the features that

the crowning glory of Byzan-

But

the

at

same time

very

its

uniqueness separates Hagia Sophia from the main-

the square central area of a church. In effect

they put a hemisphere on a square box and


cut

away

the hemisphere's

lapping sides. This

left

crown and over-

four spherical

tri-

angles (see shaded area in sketch), on which


a smaller

dome

or hemisphere could

stream of architectural development.


Typically, the standard Early Byzantine church

was

The

small.

core of

was

cross-

dome over

the in-

the building

shaped. Thick piers supported a

rise.

tersection of the

arms of the

barrel vaults

cross;

spanned each of the four arms. Additional vaulted


areas, set in the angles
cross,

gave the building

the church itself

was

formed by the arms of the


a

rectangular plan.

Though

small, the effect within

was

one of spaciousness and clarity; this was due partly

and arches and partly

to the simplicity of the piers

streaming through large win-

to bright, steady light

dows
rior

set in the

was

dome and

The church's

walls.

plain yet impressive,

composed

exte-

of only a

few simple geometric shapes and pierced by

single-

arched, unadorned windows.

This domed-cross type of church spread to Greece

and through most of Anatolia. More distant parts


of the empire, however, retained
lier

styles

of

styles of their

church

design

own which were

much
or

of their ear-

developed

new

largely independent

of Early Byzantine architecture. Thus Sixth and Sev-

enth Century churches in Mesopotamia and Egypt


differed but
THE SQUINCH was another common architec-

little

from Fourth and Fifth Century


plan they were oblong

examples

in those areas; in

function was to convert the square into an

basilicas,

and domes were

octagon by building up each corner with a

Bulgaria and Armenia, on the other hand, far

tural device

series

used

to

of overlapping

dome

the square.

masonry arches

across the angle of the square.


ing form

was

The

Its

laid

result-

rarely,

if

ever, used. In

more

sophisticated styles emerged, suffused with a rich-

ness of architectural effects not found in typical

sufficiently close to a circle to

accommodate the round base of the dome.

Early Byzantine churches. These styles depended to


139

some extent on

the basilica plan, but they also were

often based on circular or octagonal plans.

During the Middle Byzantine

Now

basic church type.

to

single

four different centralized

domed

types prevailed, each consisting of a

made up

carved out of living rock, faithfully copying larger

Ninth

era (late

mid-13th Centuries) there was no longer

core

of various combinations of the cross, the

octagon and the square. Almost

were very small. The most

all

of these churches

common

type, called the

free-standing buildings. In Greece the exteriors of

churches were lavishly adorned with

in Italy,

on the other hand, was mostly crude and

The exception

chitectural traditions.
in Venice; St. Mark's,

however,

Byzantine domed-cross church, which

copy of

resembled

however, the

vaulted areas in the angles of the cross arms were


visually united to the cruciform core

by sharply

ducing the size of the dome-supporting

many

it

made

the church appear broader,

an intricacy and subtlety lacking

in

Early Byzantine structures.

had vanished. Where formerly

the earlier churches

window-opening was spanned by

was now generally divided

into

Windows grew fewer and

smaller,

a single arch,

it

two or three arches.


and

as a result

became obscure, seem-

the interiors of the churches

ingly bathed in twilight. In addition,

every sur-

face of these small

Middle Byzantine buildings was

wealth of carved stone details

finely

wrought.

it

ar-

Mark's

much

not so

Century original the Church of


in

Constantinople,

by

built

Justinian on the site of Constantine's church


the

an 11th Century

of

same name.

The

four basic church types of the Middle Byzan-

tine era, as well as

most of

their stylistic features,

continued into the Late Byzantine period, which


lasted

until

the

fall

of

Constantinople in 1453.

But there were differences. Architects of the Late

and

out,

verticality,

and they achieved

both inside

this effect as

much by

the increased use of such vertical elements as col-

umns,

piers

and buttresses

as

by the actual heighten-

ing of the buildings. Middle Byzantine churches

usually had but one dome; those of the Late period

often had five a large

dome over

the center and a

smaller one over each corner.

Although

Constantinople

remained

relatively

faithful to the principle of subordinating surface

patterns to overall design. Late Byzantine churches

decorative patterns and a

elsewhere displayed exterior surfaces of unprece-

moldings framed doors and windows and

dented richness; intricate brickwork was more wide-

their interiors;

were frequently

set

in

ran along cornice lines.

on the

The

buildings' profiles be-

came more complex the dome now


high cylindrical drum, there was

ly

used than ever before and moldings, blind arches

and other decorative devices abounded. Even the

a variety of roof

rims of domes became scalloped as they followed

rested

upon

windows

levels,

and brick buttresses and half-columns pro-

the curves of arched

jected

from the body of the church.

But seldom were the resulting

A number of
al

is

is

St.

is

exteriors bricks

ornamented

series of

a Sixth

Holy Apostles

Byzantine period stressed

In other ways, too, the simplicity and clarity of

the

In

between the cross-shaped core and the

four-corner bays

and gave

piers.

became columns. This

cases the piers simply

visual link

re-

by Western

provincial, often heavily modified

Middle Byzantine church as

it

intricately

patterned brickwork. Middle Byzantine architecture

cross-in-square, probably evolved from the Early

in plan. In the cross-in-square church,

distinctly different local architectur-

schools flourished throughout the empire during

the Middle Byzantine period. In Cappadocia in east140

central Anatolia, for instance, tiny churches were

piercing their drums.


effects of these

em-

bellishments of the same high quality that had

marked Byzantine architecture during


great eras.

its

earlier

Notable as Byzantium's contributions


tecture were,

it is

of other arts for

to archi-

administrators, princes and churchmen. In the early

Eighth Century,

it

remembered.

chiefly

is

in architecture and in literature,

all

other aspects of Byzantine culture it was the

music and

in

that provided the principal focus for the

who

to decorate their

cus, they sent to Constantinople for mosaicists to

help them.

The

art

produced

in

Constantinople es-

with mosaics and frescoes and beautified

out the empire; local artists in the outlying areas

displayed

glorified

In addition,

their

talent

secular art of an elegance unsur-

itself in

passed in the medieval world.


art of the

The

was

fashioned their work according to

ments
In

Byzantine empire, while primarily

the art of the Church,

nople.

Moslem rulers of Syria


Great Mosque at Damas-

the

tablished the standards for Byzantine taste through-

objects for religious use.

The

wanted

when

church

creativity of the era's artists,


interiors

neighboring countries to execute murals for

to

which

As

Church

and

the empire's magnificent heritage

also the art of Constanti-

capital's great artistic

importance was

in the capital.

these arts, a distinctively Byzantine style

all

did not emerge until about the Sixth Century, having

evolved from mixed origins.

was

Its

principal antecedent

early Christian art. In the beginning, in the Sec-

and

ond and Third Centuries,

educated patrons of the arts resided there: the city

of the catacombs at

Rome.

was the

tomb art frescoes and sarcophagi.

based on the fact that nearly

seat of the

emperor and

shrank

it

their

home;

and the patriarchate were head-

Though

quartered there.

his court; the aris-

made

tocracy and the rich merchants


the monastic orders

the wealthy

all

the empire itself slowly

and continuity of

in size, the stability

tural life in the capital

cul-

went on undiminished, cen-

This enormous concentration of power and wealth


in

one

city affected
First,

past; he

12th Century

was never

artist in

far

artists.

Constan-

from his

Undoubtedly he
in so

looked deeply into their forms

artistic

tried

to

selves

its

dom

of

movement and

attention

was given

free-

to facial

features and the play of muscles.

of Christianity had

been decreed,

this

art

came

interiors.

upon

The

art

they produced continued to draw

the classical style of

Christians

now began

to

pagan Rome. But the

modify classicism and

gradually created another style of their own.


this

new

was Roman imperial portraiture of the

late

Particularly important to the

growth of

style

Third and early Fourth Centuries, which demand-

radiated

out

from

the

capital

in

Illuminated manuscripts, icons,

and metalwork were exported from Con-

beyond

example were naturalistic; they had depth and

and learned from

stantinople to every quarter of the empire and even


far

as a shepherd, for

ed an impersonal, almost symbolic representation

veritable streams.
ivories

from contemporary pa-

erally cruder, differed little

gan works. The figures Christ

doing he naturally

what he saw.
art

gen-

Its style, if

churches in great numbers and to decorate their

emulate their greatness, and

Second,

that

out of the catacombs. Christians began to build

art in several

was constantly surrounded by works of

Byzantine

was mainly

was almost exclusively

funda-

tinople, for example,

earlier

It

Constantinople's continuity of

Byzantine

culture in general nourished the growth of a strong


artistic tradition.

this art

In the early Fourth Century, after the toleration

tury after century.

mental ways.

develop-

artistic

borders.

were summoned

The
to

city's

artists

them-

the imperial provinces

accenting the emperor's divine majesty rather than


his true likeness.
for their

own

From

this the Christians

adopted

revered personages a more formal,

less naturalistic rendering.

Throughout the Fourth

and Fifth Centuries these two styles the continuation of classic naturalism

and the new formalism


141

ANIVORY CASKET, used

as a jewel box, reflects a 10th

vival of classical taste

and themes

Century

rosette-framed panels contain scenes from

re-

The

in nonreligious objects.

Greek mythology.

existed side by side, mixing occasionally, but not

existing great

too successfully.

finest pieces

In the Sixth Century, the age of Justinian, the

The

took

fusion of the styles

successful

first

style that resulted

is

most

place.

clearly seen in Early

classicism or reliance

of Early Byzantine art;

on

pure abstract

hand,

is

strikingly visible in the early Sixth

up

na, with

These works

and

its

The

solidity

naturalistic figures

its

general rhythmic balance of composition.

cal figure,

and three-dimensionality of the

classi-

however, generally was subordinated

to

surface patterns in the treatment of drapery and


hair,

which were often rendered

in linear, stylized

human

fashion. For the modeled, three-dimensional


face of classical art, a

face

was sub-

and with the features indicated

stituted, flat
a

more abstract

in only

summary way.
Even though

abstract styles
ivories

is

found

in

most Early Byzantine

media including

number

of

works

the Barberini ivory plaque

depicting a triumphant emperor (page 152),


silver plates

illustrating

David (page I58j which


fined classicism

was

still

scenes from
clearly

very

the

show

much

life

and
of

that a re-

alive.

These

pieces, because of their exceptional purity of style,

are

among

the greatest treasures of Early Byzantine

David

is

true for the

plates, in fact,

and

Nuovo

fully

Cen-

at

Raven-

rounded

figures,

small but remarkably detailed Seventh

in a

St. Peter,

which

is

the pre-

at

Mount

Sinai in Egypt.

of the abstract style,


early Eighth

tiqua at

Among

the best examples

on the other hand,

are the

Century frescoes of Santa Maria An-

Rome. Their powerful,

figures are

static

compactly arranged within the composition; they


face directly forward,
lines

The
main

and are sharply delineated

with most subtleties of features omitted.

great

works of Early Byzantine

are mainly those preserved

stantinopleat Ravenna,

Mount

art that re-

far

Sinai,

elsewhere in Europe. Undoubtedly they


style

from Con-

Rome and
reflect the

and quality of similar works that must have

once existed in the


all

in

capital. Unfortunately,

Early Byzantine art in

almost

Constantinople was de-

stroyed during the iconoclastic controversy that

swept the empire between 726 and 843.


This great religious dispute, as we have seen,
centered on the icon (Greek for "image"), which in

art still in existence.

What

The

cious possession of the monastery of St. Catherine

dark

and silverwork, there are

in these

and

their lifelike

Century wooden panel of

and the

this fusion of the classical

style.

high quality of the classical strain, on the one

tury mosaics in Sant' Apollinare

until the early Eighth Century.

the

either a continuation of pure

Byzantine ivory carvings and silverwork produced

took over from classical art

142

works

embody

Barberini ivory and

seems

to

the

hold true for most

Byzantine

art

is

any representation, small or

large,

of a holy person that attempts to convey the in-

dividual's sanctity or worthiness. Icons were


in

many

made

media; they appear as often in Byzantine

church frescoes and mosaics as they do

form

in the

of small panel paintings.

Early in Byzantine history icons became firmly

Seventh Century
to the

practice of icon-worship,

garded as

When

the late

in

militant opposition developed

which many

ing

the iconoclasts gained ascendancy in 726,

them from churches and destroying


in

Na-

the

as taking place

compositions of more complex scenes

were repeated almost


were rendered

in the

for line

line

whether they

Eighth Century or the 12th.

employed certain

In addition, Byzantine artists

compositional devices to concentrate the attention

they enforced their opposition to icons by remov-

books

be recognizable by distinctive

was almost invariably shown

in a cave; the

re-

dangerous form of idolatry.

the saints had to

over the years. Each one of

features, such as his hair, cloak or beard;


tivity

entrenched in everyday worship. But

much

not change very

religious

which they appeared. Furthermore, they

was

of the viewer. Perspective


figures

most

largely ignored.

The

directly involved in the subject of the

scene for example, Christ and John the Baptist


the depiction

the

of

Baptism were made

in

larger

insisted that only Christian symbolic art (a simple

than the auxiliary figures, such as angels, regard-

representation of the Cross, for example) or purely

less of position.

decorative

art,

such as patterns of

be used

foliage,

Furthermore, the scene was usually

purged of any deep or naturalistic landscape,

for the walls of

churches and the pages of manu-

neutral gold background taking

scripts. In 843,

however, the champions of icons

effect

brought iconoclasm to an end.

an even more prominent role


it

calculated:

it

to the picture's surface,

and sanctioned, the icon came

Justified

was

in

Byzantine

to

play

surface,

art

than

place.

its

The

place.

total

drew immediate attention


and

to the center of that

where the most important event was taking

did before the iconoclastic controversy, particu-

In addition to the iconographic traditions of in-

during the Middle Byzantine period of the

dividual portraits and Biblical scenes, there evolved

larly

late

Ninth

to early

13th Centuries. First of

icon gave Byzantine art


that has

become known

Greek word

for "sacred."

its

as

"hieratic,"

The

icon

the

all,

distinctive style,

one

from the

demanded con-

centration on the essential to the exclusion of the

was the sanc-

less

important and the extraneous.

tity

or worthiness of a holy figure that

portant; his

Thus

human

qualities

was im-

were de-emphasized.

iconic portraits ignored the actual physical

characteristics of the

and

It

solidity,

human form such

as

its

mass

and played down human emotions

in

the faces. For this reason the bodies of figures in

Middle Byzantine

art

seem two-dimensional,

al-

still

another distinctive feature of Byzantine

interior. Individual

show

resented

was

rigidly prescribed

by

tradition

and did

such

way

as to

the hierarchy of

God was

Church

placed in the

doctrine.

dome

of

the church, the highest and most celestial point.

Below Him,

in order

importance,

of

ranked the

angels, scenes of the major events in the Life of


Christ, the Apostles, prophets and, finally, in the

lowest places, the saints.

scheme or cycle of

bland, countenances.
rep-

in

Thus, the Son of

in

was

in

clearly the relative importance of the figures

and scenes

preserved
a subject

mosaics or frescoes were placed

around the walls of the church

most weightless, and they possess calm, almost

Second, the manner in which

art:

system or order of decoration for an entire church

Constantinople
in

the

Although no complete

this hierarchical order


itself,

remains

magnificent example

Church of Hosios Loukas

is

in

Greece (page 101).


All the

main developments

of this iconographic
143

emerged and attained

art

full

strength during the

period works of

art

were fewer and

many

less varied

century following the iconoclastic controversy, but

than in

not simultaneously. Standardized representations

perfection and originality of Middle Byzantine cre-

and scenes, along with the hierar-

of holy figures
chical order of

church decoration, appeared

The

the late Ninth Century.

typical

Middle Byzantine

hieratic qualities of

first in

abstract

or

style did not

make their appearance until the mid-lOth Century.


The earliest works of Middle Byzantine church
seem

art

have been modeled on works of Justin-

to

on those Sixth Century

particularly

ian's reign,

works showing the

strain for example,

classical

the mosaics in Ravenna's Sant' Apollinare

Nuovo.

In the early 10th Century, during the rule of

Con-

stantine VII Porphyrogenitus, the classical strain

was further
duced

purified to the extent that the art pro-

in his time represents a renaissance of an-

tique style. This highly classical art continued

on

into the late years of the 10th Century, but mainly


in

such secular works as ivory jewel caskets.

exquisite example

is

the Veroli casket,

Victoria and Albert

Museum,

in

now

An

in the

which the sub-

ations.

earlier ages; in

But the highest

maintained in

fresco

in

reasons of

for

were

standards

artistic

and

mosaics

which largely

cases they lacked the

paintings

economy virtually

replaced mosaics in church decoration as the Late

Byzantine period progressed.


Unlike the Church art of

earlier periods, that of

Late Byzantine times became infused with a


ness of style, and
artists

pletely

no longer
on the

its

felt

liveli-

subject matter broadened:

constrained to dwell so com-

essentials of a subject; secondary fig-

ures crept into the scenes of the Life of Christ; the

Death of the Virgin began


tation of her soul to

to include the transpor-

Heaven amid

a host of attend-

ing angels. Figures in the scenes were no longer


Christ, for example,

static.

action, literally pulling

The

was now depicted

Adam

out of Hell.

closing era of Byzantine art

saw

naturalism, but a naturalism of a

new

phasis was

now

in

a return to

kind.

Em-

placed on emotions rather than on

jectsscenes from mythology as well as the style

mere physical forms on Christ's Passion,

stem from

ample, and on the sorrow and tenderness of Mary.

From

classical antiquity.

the late 10th Century

greater part of church art

abstract style.

Thus most

manuscripts and works


late

was

on,

however, the

in the sophisticated

of the religious ivories,

in precious metals of

the

10th to 12th Centuries display the elongated

figures,

bland features and intricate linearism of the

With

Both the purely naturalistic figures of

the conquest of Constantinople

were replaced by more humane and compel-

ling features.

Throughout

by the Cru-

artists

The production

ries, a

abruptly.

most

art

works seems

Illuminated

ever, continued to be

no interruption

thousand-year history Byzantine

its

art influenced the art of

saders in 1204, Byzantine art suffered a brief hiatus.

ceased

classical art

and the abstract, expressionless faces of the hieratic


style

more

of

for ex-

Eastern and Western Eu-

rope, largely through the importation of Byzantine

hieratic convention.

144

tine

manuscripts,

made, and

in the

to

their style

Middle Byzantine

have

howshows

style of

and works of

art.

Never was

significant than in the 12th

this influence

and 13th Centu-

period that witnessed the widest diffusion

of Byzantine art.

To

this era

belong such mosaics

as those in the Cathedrals in Torcello near Venice

and

at

Monreale and Cefalu in

the previous three centuries. In 1261 a Byzantine

rious beginnings of

emperor once more resumed the throne, and from

Cavallini,

then until the mid-15th Century the Late Byzan-

finest flowering of

the

Sicily.

The

glo-

Renaissance the age of

Duccio and Giotto rested largely on


Byzantine

art.

this

A CHRIST IN MOSAIC

is

restored by careful hands,

which remove plaster that has hidden

it

for centuries.

TRADITIONS OF BEAUTY
Over

the long centuries of Byzantium's

into place the tiny bits of glass

life,

the hands of creative artists pressed

and stone that form mosaics. The hands of others

carved exquisite ivories, painted frescoes, illuminated manuscripts, worked precious metals and
to stimulate

wove

silks.

The mood

of their art

was

reverent; their intent

profound religious thought. The traditions they handed down

was

flour-

ished wherever the empire held sway: in Constantinople, Greece, the Balkans,
aly, Syria,

Egypt. Today, in the finest of their surviving

only recently rediscovered behind the

dirt

works some

of

It-

them

and plastered-over walls of venerable

churches the techniques and achievements of these

artists still

evoke admiration.
145

AT NORMAL VIEWING DISTANCE. Shadrach, Meshach and Ahed-nego, the three holy children of
the Bible, are seen in their fiery furnace.

mosaic, with

its

glittering gold

This

background,

is

Church of Hosios Loukas in Greece. Outfor mosaics were first made on the rough

in the

lines

wet

plaster, then the pieces

were pressed into

a layer of fine plaster to hold

IN

A CLOSE-UP VIEW of one

them

in

place.

figure, the indi-

vidual colors used to create overall effects

become separately distinguishable. The


outlined in dark stones,
bits

of white

is

and pink marble and modeled

with greenish-gray pieces


ows. Reds

face,

fleshed out with

and browns

to

suggest shad-

are

used

for

the

cloak and stylized hair. The golden pieces


of the halo were
leaf to the

made by annealing gold

bottom of clear

glass.

were baked into the glass when

Other colors
it

was made.

SEEN CLOSER

STILL, the face

becomes an

intri-

cate pattern of tiny rectangles placed in orderly lines.

To make the

slabs of stone

up
146

pieces,

and colored

into cubes three eighths

side;

odd

sizes

were used

to

called

glass were

of an
fill

tesserae,

broken

inch on a

awkward

spots.

GREAT MOSAICS FROM TINY STONES


Mosaics, adorning the floors and walls of private
villas

and imperial palaces, attaining monumental

imum

impact

the walls

as the curious

were Byzantium's transcendent work. Most of these

to the large

quick glance

at

some works might

men not,

as

suggest, by

primitives baffled by problems in perspective. In-

dividuals and scenes

were designed

to

be clear,

simple and recognizable so they would have max-

seen from

and higher vaultings of

magnificence on the vaults and domes of churches,

mosaics were made by sophisticated

when

human

distance, as

on

church. Yet

eye comes closer and closer

and impassive mosaic eye,

all

manner

of subtle touches are revealed: a gentle modeling

achieved by curving the lines of the stone;

a gra-

dation of color attained by using stones of different hues; a glittering

background enhanced by

setting the cubes at different angles

to

the light.

EARl\ BYZANTltiE:

Sixth Century Christ

is

SUBTLE SHIFTS

rendered as a living, three-dimensional man.

IN

STYLE

MIDDLE BYZANTINE:

Most Byzantine mosaics,

An

11th Century Christ

particularly

centuries, were executed in a

is

those of the middle

manner known

as hieratic,

mean-

ing holy or sacred a formalized, almost rigid, style designed

not so

much

to picture

men and

events as to inspire reverence

and meditation. One tradition ordained that "a


nine heads" (modern proportions
148

make

man

man measure
about seven

reduced

'H't

to

Hat,

LATE BYZANTINE

almost abstract patterns.

heads

tall);

13th Lentury Lhnst

that his hairline rise a nose's length

forehead; and that

"if

the

man

is

above

many
for

other rules was as strong on the artist as the


priest to

much

the

his

naked, four noses' lengths

are needed for half his width." Pressure to preserve these

on the

15

and

demand

guard unaltered the canon of the Mass, and

same reason: both men were keeping the sacred

natural again, hut

now shows

new depth and compassion.

mysteries. Nevertheless,

many

place during the long

of the hieratic school.

life

how

Byzantine

activity,

from the

seen above demonstrate


a

thousand years of

Greece and
finally to a

subtle changes in style took

artists

The examples

moved, during

classical influences of

Rome through the asceticism of


new and more deeply moving kind

the

East,

and

of naturalism.
149

SEVENTH CENTURY WAX

ON WOOD

12TH CENTURY ENAMEL,

NOW

PANEL,

IN VENICE

MT

SINAI

lOTH CENTURY l\ORV

MADE

IN

CONSTAMIXOPLE

13TH CENTURY FRESCO. YUGOSLAVIA

UNCHANGING PRECEPTS
FOR PORTRAITURE
were required by

Artists

the

Church and

the state to

instantly recognizable to
of this policy

was

human

ardized

their

clients primarily

make

a portraiture that

pictures

their

One

beholders.

all

used

result

stand-

which was applied the

face to

dis-

tinguishing features for each Biblical personality.

Thus, over the centuries

Peter

St.

was always de-

picted wearing a rounded white beard, St. John the

Baptist a scraggly one; St. Paul

and

St.

Demetrios clad

was always bald

in a suit of mail. Color, too,

was prescribed. Christ was

to

wear blue and gold

before the Crucifixion and purple and gold after the


Resurrection; the Blessed Virgin
in blue

and purple,

St. Peter in

ten these rules were ignored

was

to

be clothed

gold and beige. Of-

by the

they remained, violable only by

artist,

but rules

men who had

established their artistic worth in obeying

When working

for the

Church,

artists

first

them.

were also

re-

quired to base their representations on approved


authorities: an earlier

image believed

to

be of heavUTH CENTLR> MObAle CONSTANTINOPLE

enly origin, a description of the scene by a contem-

porary witness, or

passage from Holy Scripture.

THE FACE OF ST PETER was represented

many ways

(left),

from

in

and

profiles in glass

mosaic to frescoes. But his distinguishing


features remained virtually unchanged: curly
hair,

a forelock and a rounded white beard.

ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

IS

the

cetic in three depictions.

shown

same desert

At

the top

he

asis

in his role as baptizer; in the center as

a saint to be venerated. In the bottom scene

he

is

an intercessor at the Last Judgment.


UTH CENTURY (RLSCO CONSTANTINOPll

THE BARBERINI PLAQUE,

classical in style,

is

named

for a family that once

owned

it.

ARTISTRY IN IVORY
The Byzantines'

love of luxury

many superb objects altar

is

evident in the

furnishings, jewel boxes,

plaques, triptychs that they carved from elephant

tusks and walrus teeth. Since the supply of ivory

depended on trade with


kings, this

India, Africa

was an expensive

times of great prosperity.

art,

Many

and the Vi-

flourishing only in
THE HARBAVILLE TRIPTYCH, also named
artistic influences
for

played upon

it.

The Sixth Century plaque above,

which celebrates an emperor's triumph,

is

descend-

ed in style from the imperial art of ancient

Rome,

while the equally exquisite 10th Century triptych


at

the right, religious in theme,

appropriate
152

and

more

formal

is

executed in the

hieratic

manner.

ter

former owners, shows

in

its

cen-

panel an enthroned Christ, flanked

by Mary and

St.

the Apostles.

The side panels depict

^^T*

warrior saints and other holy figures.

^^^

John, above five of

153

^31^1 ^j^J
^^K^^^S^^3
'>a#P^^^^|

"^t

**fc^>^i'
I

w"-

^v*"*
,-.v'

..^^^^^^^1

T^M/^^^M

^HlMlB'

%^^4^^H

.^-^ "^k

^<

*.<

^H ^^lOS^

r^. ^^^^^^T^_i^rv

^^B

^^HKl

^s.

^;*y:\o.S'

'^v.

rji^i*

^.''jk

jMi ^^l^^^nj

lH^'
F--

\^\N

^""^v.

/!'

i^9? f /

^^r,

%V

:-

f"
)&^
'*

^
'

--*^*

'

.-;>^w,

?,^

-^^ipr^

't^-*MJ^

f^^

'

i-

J C

'

-JL

'

ILLUMINATIONS ROMANTIC
The

scribes

who

wrote Byzantium's precious man-

uscripts and the artists

who

practicing a highly developed

illustrated

The manuscripts

art.

were of two general types. In one,

them were

Psalms

now

stricter.

were interspersed with full-page


illustrations that had only a casual relation to the

in

more

text.

The

Bible,

artists

could follow their imaginations or

borrow from the

rich stores of pre-Christian art.

In the painting at the

left,

A COMPOSER AT WORK. David Strums

from

famous Book of

in Paris, this

freedom

is

reflected in

ures surrounding David as he composes his psalms.

from the

SEVERE

the use of an idyllic landscape and allegorical fig-

text pages, usual-

ly

AND

turgical

Church-dictated approach

literal

miniatures from

book used

lesson from the

in the

life

is

seen below

synaxarion, a

Mass, which offers

li-

a daily

of that day's saint. Here, in

keeping with the illumination's religious use, the


spare, severe style

demands

the viewer's attention.

his

lyre in a fanciful pastoral scene (left)

while Melodia. the personification

Music,

looks

over

his

Echo peeks from behind a


Seated below

is

of

shoulder and

column.

a pagan mountain god.

PROCLAIMING THE FAPrH. sacred

figures

are seen in two illuminated miniatures

of hieratic style. In the top one, Christ

reads from the

Book of

Isaiah

before

the synagogue at Nazareth. Below, St

Eumenius, Bishop of Gortyna, barkens


to the Lord,

whose commanding hand

enters the picture from the upper

left.

155

V-^

MASTERWORKS
N FRESCO
The
St.

^^^^i

Church of

glorious frescoes of the

Clement, in the Yugoslavian town of

Ohrid, have only recently been restored

through the

to their original brilliance

moval of

six centuries of dirt.

The

re-

figures

and half dome of the sanc-

in the apse

who

tuary are dominated by the Virgin,

stands above a double Connmunion scene

showing Christ giving bread on the


and wine on the
of fathers

right.

the

of

Below

left

are portraits

Orthodox Church

in

bishops' robes; on the sides of the arch are

heads of Old Testament figures.


Fresco painting, in which pigments are
applied directly to the wet wall plaster,

was practiced

in

Byzantium mainly

after

the 10th Century, often as a less expensive


substitute for mosaics. But frescoes such

Clement are

as those in St.

bargain-rate

far

more than

For one thing, the artists

art.

9^\^

were no longer anonymous servants of


the Church, but

names

chael in this
these artists
vices, they

men who

signed

their

works (Eutychius and Mi-

to their

case).

Moreover, although

some hieratic
made good use of

retained
also

dethe

spontaneity that fresco painting allowed

and established many


best work, such as
here,

compares

local

the

in quality

paintings of Pompeii

styles.

frescoes

Their

shown

with the wall

and some of the

mural masterworks of the Renaissance.


156

^I^S

lie ^Mm

1
H

Ik

M
1^ Jm
ak^ fi
^i J
1

ft.

ri^

^^>>^

bi-i

\N
#;><
f

c v"-*^

^^j _

\
/

'^

/'

'0

J'

^1

"'"'w

^f^

f^

m iHl^^v
'^mii
i.

^''

%j0

\'^P^-'r;'

.'#'<

':\

-^_

\*

SMALLER TREASURES
Along with

its

major works, Byzan-

brilliance in

tium gleamed with highly polished minor


en cups and

embroidered tapestries and


jects

gold-

Some

fine enamels.

ob-

were reserved for imperial use. But there was

much
lit

arts:

gem-encrusted jewelry,

silver spoons,

for sale to the public

windows

and

at night the taper-

workshops

of the imperial

in

Constan-

tinople glittered with precious things to entice buyers.

The

violence of Byzantine history including

two thorough
spared
is

A SOLID SILVER PLATE, made

in

Constantinople

Century, shows David meeting Saul.


diers invaded

Cyprus

A SILKEN TAPESTRY
time,

in

sol-

648 and was not unearthed again until 1902.

depicts

Mary

of this art.

Constantinople itself

of

Where

often thanks to the Crusader

it

has survived,

who

it

carried these

the early Seventh

was buried when Arab

listening to the angel

who

tells

treasures off as spoils of war, or to the terrified

Byzantine

who

buried them to prevent their theft.

her

Mother of God. Silk making began in Justinian's


with silkworm eggs smuggled from China by ingenious monks.

that she will be the

158

in

It

little

pillages

A JEWELED RELIQUARY

(right)

shows Christ

at

its

center,

surrounded

by Mary, John the Baptist and the Apostles. Taken as war booty
from the imperial treasury

in

1204,

it is

now

in a

German

cathedral.

m<'Jii*

fe^
-J

6lamiHlMiLii
Ki'

iii^JMie

'f

That

intelligent

Byzantine philosopher and chron-

saw no

the 11th Century, Michael Psellus,

icler of

signs of decline in the nation during his lifetime,

though he found much

He deplored
members of

to disparage.

the excessive expenditures of the later


the

Macedonian imperial house, who vied with one

another

building increasingly extravagant me-

in

"The

morials to their reign.

was

imperial treasury

opened up and the gold kept there was allowed


pour forth

like a river,

to

he wrote, and added that

"

uncontrolled spending could be disastrous for the

He

fortunes of the state.

power between

conflict for

THE FINAL CENTURIES

the civil aristocracy of

and the great landed

the capital

dangerous

also described a

nobility.

Although

he did not suggest that forces of disintegration

were

work, Byzantium was already moving

at

ward

downfall. Psellus perceived

its

some

to-

of the

causes, but without realizing that they might be-

come

fatal.

The

doom

chief factors that brought

after

Byzantium

to its

more than 1,000 years were the continu-

power within the empire, and

ing struggles for

gradual alterations in the social structure that had

bound

classes of society to the country.

all

There

were also external forces that helped bring about


the downfall.

trade,

tition in

drop

One

was the West's compe-

of these

which

led eventually

to a

severe

Byzantine commerce. Another was the

in

in-

creasingly frequent clashes between the Western

Church

at

Rome and

stantinople,

which

the Eastern

in the

empire's disadvantage.

Moslem Turks.

It

Church

at

Con-

long run worked to the

And

finally, there

was Turkish power

were the

that in the

end erased Constantinople as both an independent


and

Christian power; even before that, the pres-

ence of the Turks exacerbated the ever-mounting


crises of

Byzantium.

In the middle of the 11th Century,

was evident.

Macedonian dynasty

with the leadership of the army, con-

tended for power. At


nated. But in 1081
BEStECINC CONSTANTTINOPLE,
tents outside the city in 1453.

Mehmet Us Turkish army

ertcamps in gay

in 1056, the

and the large landown-

civil nobility of the capital

allied

this

Inside Byzantium, in the years follow-

ing the end of the

ers,

none of

the civil nobility domi-

first

Alexius

in attaining the throne,

and

Comnenus succeeded

his success

marked the

While some soldiers aim cannons at the walls,

others drag ships overland into the Golden Horn.

The French

artist

who

painted this scene in 1455 gave the city the look of a Gothic fortress.

triumph of the landowners and the army.

The

reigns of Alexius

Comnenus

(1081-1118),
161

son John

his

Manuel
was

and

(1118-1143),

grandson

his

(1143-1180) spanned a century. Manuel

gifted

He dreamed
tium

II

man soldier,

might of Byzan-

of restoring the lost

just as Justinian

Roman

that of the

statesman, theologian.

had dreamed of restoring

Empire, and like Justinian he

launched attacks on Italy

though without

itself,

sustained success. Strongly attracted to the cus-

Robert Guiscard, the energetic leader of the Nor-

the Byzantine court

many

and appointed Latins

positions of influence in the state.

among

stimulating ferment of ideas


tines,

Though

West produced

revived contact with the

this

to

the Byzan-

Manuel's reckless extravagance and the ex-

pense of his military enterprises brought the state


the verge of bankruptcy. As the tax burden on

to

many

the peasantry mounted,

were forced

to sell their

farms

small landholders
to the increasingly

powerful semifeudal magnates.


reign of the

come from
the

power

Comnenus

was during the

It

family,

which

had

itself

the ranks of the landed nobility, that


of the

landowning aristocracy grew

the point where, with increasing independence,

could oppose the central authority of the

At the same

time, pressure

the empire increased.

From

ward the West had been

to
it

state.

from forces outside

the 10th Century on-

stirred

by the sight of

Byzantine brocades, onyx cups, miniatures,

reli-

quaries studded with jewels, and magnificent works

now planned

Guiscard

adventurers had occupied

possessions
to

in

southern

conquer the

Italy.

rest of the

empire and seize the imperial crown for himself.

To counter

Norman

the

nenus, conscious of the weakness of his

and naval

Owing

Com-

aggression, Alexius

own

to the assistance of

Venice and the for-

tuitous death of Guiscard at the height of the

man

Norman advance was

the

attack,

land

sought help from the Venetians.

forces,

checked.

But the price the Venetians demanded for

was the concession

Nor-

their aid

of extensive trading privileges

throughout the empire. This naturally provoked

among the other Italian maritime repubMore important, it meant that a Western pow-

jealousy
lics.

er

had obtained

empire

a vital trading foothold within the

As

itself.

Alexius' successors

pend more and more on the use of

came

to

de-

Italian ships for

Byzantium's defense, trading concessions had

to

be granted to the Genoese and the Pisans as well.


Constantinople's grip on trade was weakened, and
the rich tolls

on which the imperial exchequer had

so heavily relied soon dwindled into insignificance.

The commercial inroads


companied by

of the Italians were ac-

worsening of the relations

a steady

between the two Christian Churches. Some of the


points of disagreement in this long dispute were

purely theological

(e.g.,

whether the Holy

Spirit

in gold or

enamel; such objects had

been circulated

proceeded only from the Father, as the Orthodox

by

and Jewish merchants through the cas-

Christians maintained, or from both the Father and

tles

Italian

and

of the

cloisters of

France and England, the burgs

Rhine and the palaces of

Italy.

had been added Byzantium's own


tural

To

this traffic

political

and

cul-

propaganda, in the form of lavish and mag-

the Son, as
creed).

it

was

stated in the

Other disputes were

political.

The crowning

by the Pope

of

in the year

amended Latin

political,

Charlemagne

or
as

quasi-

emperor

800 had been taken

at

nificent gifts to foreigners, all providing evidence

Constantinople as a deliberate attack on the uni-

of unlimited wealth and splendor.

versal status

Many

Western

ruler

was tempted by the

lure

of Constantinople. In the 11th Century, the most

dangerous of these rulers


162

the Byzantine

all

toms of the West, he introduced chivalric practices


to

Norman

mans. By 1071,

to

the Byzantines

was

and authority of the Byzantine em-

peror. In the 11th

press

its

claims

to

Century the papacy began

to

universal spiritual authority,

asserting that the Byzantine

Church too should be

Roman

subject to the

Rome and

See's divinely chosen primacy.

Constantinople also competed for

risdictional rights over various peoples

ju-

newly con-

was

in control of

an empire that stretched from

northeastern Persia to the Punjab.


overlordship

among

On

his death,

Turks who had

the

settled in

verted to Christianity. In the Ninth Century they

the realm of the caliph passed into the Seljuk fam-

argued over, and ultimately hindered the missions

ily.

and

Cyril

St.

of,

Central Europe.

Methodius

St.

Moravia

in

in

similar dispute concerning Bul-

Ninth Century, was resolved

garia, also in the

favor of Constantinople only

when

in

the Byzantines

The Turks continued

from the caliph but also the

autonomous Bulgarian archbishopric. And

The

was

Byzantine

in

southern Italy that was

territories in

one of the immediate causes of the schism between


the

Churches

The

Rome and

of

deterioration of relations between the two

fluence on the final

As

fall

early as the Sixth

been

in contact

Byzantium

of

to the Turks.

Century the Byzantines had

with the empire the Turks had

established in Central Asia. In later centuries, as

Turkish

were forced

tribes

contacts increased.
fact married

Two

to

move westward,

Byzantine emperors had

princesses

of

one of

tribes the cultivated Khazars,


to

Judaism

these

who had

in

Turkish

the

converted

city surrendered

caliph bestowed the

Khorezm,

seat

without

of

the

struggle,

of sultan

title

caliphate.

and the

and temporal

control over his domains to the Seljuk chieftain,

while he himself retained religious control.

Meanwhile, other Turkish

Constantinople in 1054.

halves of Christendom eventually had a direct in-

territory of

lying east of the Caspian Sea. In 1055 the Seljuks

marched on Baghdad, the

it

ruler

Tugrul had conquered not only the whole of Persia

agreed to allow the Bulgarians to establish a semi-

the question of jurisdictional rights over dioceses

conquests and by

their

Century the Seljuk

the middle of the 11th

warriors

had been

The Byzantines were


Romanus IV Diogenes de-

raiding Byzantine territories.

alarmed, and Emperor

cided to advance against them.

Turkish armies,

led

The Byzantine and

by Tugrul's successor. Alp

Arslan, met at Manzikert in August 1071. In a batof far-reaching consequences for

tle

for the world,

Emperor was taken

the

Alp Arslan was


vantage.

He

Europe and

the Byzantines were defeated

and

prisoner.

lenient

and did not press

released the

Emperor on

his ad-

fairly

easy

after their migration to the area north

terms and turned back to complete his conquest

had sup-

of Syria. But the southern and eastern borders of

Other Turkish

of the Black Sea.

plied contingents of mercenaries

tribes
to

both the By-

who
empire from Baghdad. Many of

the Byzantine empire were

now

virtually defense-

zantine emperor and the Arab caliph,

ruled

less,

his theocratic

these

ons had been sharpened. These barons they bore

mercenaries stayed on to settle within the borders


of the Byzantine

Christians or
It

and the Arab empires, becoming

Moslems

was the Turks

who

first

central

became

power

of

living in the lands of the caliph

a threat to

Byzantium, for as the

in this area declined, the

power of the Turks increased. The

Turk

to build

up

ni.

Moslem

first

powerful state was

legendary prince by the

name

of

title

of ghazi, or warrior for the faith, and ob-

served a semimystical discipline developed in the

10th and 11th Centuries were professional raiders

accordingly.

Baghdad

the

and the appetites of the Turkish border bar-

Mahmud

By the beginning of the 11th Century

of

half-

Ghaz-

Mahmud

and

fighters.

Encountering

little

or no opposition,

they penetrated into Byzantine territory, and settled the areas into

which they advanced. Often the

Christians fled before

and

lands

villages unoccupied.

By
ers

them, leaving their

the end of the 11th Century, the ghazi raid-

had overrun the greater part of Anatolia, and


163

^^^4

BLACK SEA

Ani
1065

icomedia

Manzikert

1337

1071

X^icaea

1329

X Angora

Bruia

1402

X Caesarea
1067

ANATOLIA
(Asia Minor)

COLLAPSE OF THE EMPIRE


I

Territories lost

by 1092

lost

by 1350

^H

Territories lost

by 1402

^^M

Territories lost

by 1453

EB3i Territories

Some important

Miles

MEDITERRANEAN SEA

battlefields

only a few coastal districts remained in Byzantine


hands.

The Seljuk Turks themselves were alarmed


growing independence and power

at the ghazis'

and sought

to organize

When

kingdom.

this

them

into a single Islamic

had been done,

the early

in

Pope Gregory VII

Church

Hugh, Abbot of Cluny. "The

to

of the Orient

is

moving further from

Catholic faith, and the devil, having killed


itually,

causes

its

by the sword of

members

the

spir-

to perish in the flesh

henchmen

his

it

lest at

any time

di-

years of the 12th Century, the boundary between

vine grace bring them to a better mind." In this

Byzantine and Turkish lands was fixed along

spirit the

rough

line

districts
lia,

which

and the

left

fertile valleys of

and the Turks

One

most

of the

the empire with the coastal

western Anato-

in control of the

land, with their capital at

whole hinter-

Konya.

fateful repercussions of the

zantine defeat at Manzikert was that


the

West

As

the victorious Seljuks

to the precarious position of

went on

it

By-

aroused

Byzantium.

to capture

ened.

The

idea of a crusade to liberate the holy

places of Palestine began to

papacy, anxious
to

Byzantium

to

expand

grow and
its

the

Roman

power, looked also

as a land to be "saved."

In the decades following 1054 the Turkish

umphs
as a

in Asia

Minor were interpreted by Rome

form of divine retribution upon the Byzan-

tines for the

schism that became formal that year.

"Great pain and universal sorrow obsess me," wrote

could view the return of


territories

jurisdiction as a victory over the

croaching darkness,

while

was seen

key

as the vital

to

to papal

West's secular rulers were no


the

itself

dominion over

The

tempted than

less

Pope by the prize of Byzantium.

In 1095 at the Council of Clermont,

Pope Ur-

year later

ban
a

papal

powers of en-

Constantinople

Eastern Europe, Russia and the Near East.

II

exhorted the West to action.

disorganized rabble of Crusaders led by Peter

the

Hermit managed

were easily
later

tri-

Roman Church

any of Byzantium's imperial

the

Holy Land from the Arabs, Western alarm height-

164

100

came

to reach Anatolia,

killed off
real

and other stock.

by the Turks.

where they
few months

armies led by nobles of

Norman

few of the leaders were moti-

vated by religious zeal, but more were driven by


a spirit of

adventure and a

lust for gain.

The By-

zantines exacted a promise from the Crusaders that

any former Byzantine

cities

recaptured from the

200

rADINC PHASES OF THE EMPIRE are shown

shades of green. The disastrous

in

defeat at Manzikert in eastern Anatolia (1071) cost Byzantium most of Asia

Minor and
tmarkt'd

left

b\j

the Balkans

and Greece open

to

gradual Turkish adi>ances

other battles and dates). Constantinople

Turks should be returned

itself

tioch after

it

1453.

in

to Constantinople's rule.

The condition was honored


other places. But the

fell

for

Nicaea and certain

Norman army

restoration of a deposed

was captured. Bohemund, son of

that

throne.

made him-

master of Antioch and refused to hand


set

up other

Jerusalem and Tripoli. But

sa,

and

II,

in

it

in

asserted his rights as

1137 the Emperor,


ruler

of Antioch,

1144 the Moslems recaptured Edessa.

In 1147, the

Second Crusade was

Germany and King


victories over the

West

signs of the

through more
the

Norman

Louis VII of France.

Moslems, but the

against

It

to

emperor

The Emperor Alexius V Ducas Mourtzouphos


fled lest, as

Senator Nicetas Choniates

of their fellow Christians the classic fate of losers.

de-

show

midst of the Crusade,

Behind him,

his people suffered at the

Churches, palaces, monasteries and

and

The good women

clerics alike.

tium were hard put

to

save their virtue.

was placed upon the throne

Holy

set forth.

It

later the

failed to regain

Jerusalem but again

was made against Constantinople,

threat

time by the

German

king.

the

Third Crusade

During

this

dispute with

the Byzantine Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa ac-

made

tually ordered that preparations be

attack on

the

Frederick's

At

last

city,

for

an

but the Emperor yielded to

demands and

in 1203, the

the threat

was

averted.

Fourth Crusade, originally

dispatched for Egypt and the Holy Land, was actually diverted to Constantinople.

The

was engineered by the Venetians. The

diversion

elderly doge

of Venice, Enrico Dandolo, hated the Byzantines:

30 years

earlier,

while being held as a hostage in

Constantinople, he had been blinded by the Greeks

through exposure

to a

concave mirror which strong-

ly reflected the sun's rays.

Apart from motives of

revenge, Dandolo coveted the economic advantages

where frenzied

the city, destroying

prosti-

which the

to

ta-

their loot.

swept

of the accumulated art

city,

subject of narratives over

sol-

of Byzan-

this furious rapine fire

much

as

Hagia Sophia

gambled with

treasure of nine centuries.

"Oh,

by

were turned into dicing

soldiers

Three times during

rose in lament:

in

drunken masses

victors danced. Altars


bles

Moslems recaptured Jerusalem,

and two years

City,

seriously considered

itself.

libraries,

of the poor, were indiscriminately sacked


diers

hands

and the hovels

well as the fine villas of the rich

set to singing

In 1187 the

he

sert."

tute

moment

us,

tells

into the teeth of the Latins as a tidbit or des-

and

of France at one

was taken

by the Crusaders and pillaged mercilessly.

Corfu and, landing on the Greek,

is

manner

all

of chicanery was that in 1204 the city

mainland, captured Thebes and Corinth. King Lou-

seizing Constantinople

com-

net result, after a succession of

events battles, betrayals and

of

contingent suddenly seized the Byzan-

tine island of

was the
Byzantine

to the

by

won no

political

Byzantium began

clearly. In the

III

The

plicated

"fall

called forth

Bernard of Clairvaux and led by Conrad

St.

over.

principalities at Edes-

Byzantium's cortquest.

ostensible excuse for the diversion

An-

The Crusaders
John

The

from

retained

old anti-Byzantinist, Robert Guiscard,


self

Venice would gain

The

voice of

city,

eye of

all

Nicetas

all

cities,

the world, spectacle

above the world, supporter of churches, leader of


faith,

guide of orthodoxy, protector of education,

abode of
the

cup

good!

all

Thou

hast drunk to the dregs

of the anger of the Lord and hast been

which

visited with fire fiercer than that

in

days of

yore descended upon the five cities."

What was
was carted
er of the

and

off.

No

fire

or

vandalism

one, wrote Villehardouin, a lead-

Crusaders, could possibly count the gold

silver,

silks,

not destroyed by

the plate and jewels,

the mantles of squirrel

fur,

the

samite and

ermine and mini-

ver found by the Westerners; not since the world

was created was so much contained

The

treasure

was taken

off

in a single city.

and has since

filtered
165

to all corners of

town

scure

of

Europe. Today one goes to the ob-

Limburg on Lahn

in

Germany

to in-

to

Constantinople, the

northwest corner of Anatolia and

a belt stretching

spect a Byzantine reliquary, to Venice to see By-

across the center of the Balkans. Italians, particu-

zantine chalices and gold vessels and to other cities

larly

for other treasures.

As

the Genoese,

trade. Latin lords

members

the empire collapsed,

Byzantine court managed

of the former

to establish

themselves

dominated

still

ern Anatolia; on the southeast shores of the Black

crippled,

Sea and in Epirus, on the western coast of the

machinery

authority of the central government was

and the workings of the administrative

now

largely

depended on the coopera-

Balkan peninsula. The remainder of the empire

tion of the virtually independent

was partitioned among Venice and the Latin

local governors.

them the

entire Eastern trade,

colonies along the coast and

European

lands. In the

number
up

proved unable

by

turn).

The Black Death,

empire

were

set

Emhow-

of the Latin

Latin conquerers,

to retain their gains.

The

local

population grew increasingly restive as the hated

Roman Church was


win and

upon them, and Bald-

forced

his successors

had

difficulty

keeping their

Meanwhile, one of the three Byzantine kingdoms,


Nicaea, was becoming more and more powerful. In
July 1261, the Nicaean ruler, Michael Palaeologus,

succeeded in capturing Constantinople.


sisted

by Genoa, Venice's

trade.

The

Latin-installed

rival

for

He was

its

little

it

the final

history under the founder of

its

last

as events proved, its longest-lived dynasty,

the Palaeologus.

were

Eastern

the

together with the Venetian trader-colonists.

phase of

pire

as-

emperor and patriarch

The Byzantine empire now entered on


and,

crippled and sadly reduced

was; the two

brilliant

off

his father-in-law, son

final

intellectually

more than years

centuries,

and

em-

though they

artistically,

were

of rear-guard actions against

overwhelming odds. The empire Michael Palaeolo-

in

striking in 1347, carried

almost two thirds of Constantinople's popula-

tion.

By

the end of the 14th Century the residents

of the city

numbered only about 100,000 one

population two

its

and grandson

grew

short,

vanished.

centuries

earlier.

the splendor of the Byzantine

"The

court

jewels in the crowns were glass,

not real cloth-of-gold

the robes

sixth

As money

dishes copper, while

but

the

tinsel,

that appeared to be rich

all

brocade was only painted leather," wrote

vassals in check.

fled,

state (John V,

though he reigned for 50 years, was deposed three

territories of the

The

wars and dynas-

times,

is-

Baldwin of Flanders, who with

pire of Constantinople.

civil

weakened the

and they established

pomp was crowned emperor

ever,

Continuing

quarrels further

tic

landowners and

on many of the

of petty, semifeudal dependencies

in vassalage to

great

that insured

to

on the Greek mainland and

the islands.

The

princes.

empire's

the

and Venetian traders managed

retain their holdings

in three separate principalities, at Nicaea, in west-

The Venetians acquired concessions

166

gus regained was confined

con-

temporary observer.

Most ominous
been built up

in

of

all,

new Turkish power had

northwestern Anatolia, ready

to

break into Europe. This was the Ottoman emirate.

Although
the

initially

subjects of the Seljuk empire,

Ottoman Turks had won

as the Seljuk

pact of the

mans gained

their

independence

empire disintegrated under the im-

Mongol

invasions. In 1301

a first victory

the Otto-

over the Byzantines

Baphaeum, between Nicaea and Nicomedia.

at

In 1326

Brusa was captured, then Nicaea in 1329 and Ni-

comedia

in 1337. In

the Dardanelles

1356 Ottoman troops crossed

and invaded Europe. By 1362 they

were masters of western Thrace, and


established their capital

at

in

1365 they

Adrianople. In

1387

Salonika

Kossovo

The Turks defeated

fell.

in 1389,

and

Peloponnese. By 1397
zantines

was the

area north of

Peloponnese.

it,

was

that

all

city of

Serbs

the

at

1394 they ravaged the

in

left

to the

Constantinople and

some

as well as

territory

By-

small

in

the

The Turks then enveloped Constantiits surrender. The city was


advance of the Mongols under Tam-

nople and demanded

saved by the

who met and

erlane,

Ankara

at

defeated the

Ottoman

forces

breathing space

now

for Constanti-

among

nople. Dynastic quarrels broke out

the Ot-

tomans. They might have provided an opportunity


for the Byzantines to recoup

some

of their losses.

But they could not do so without Western


ance, and the condition for that

assist-

was submission

Over
about

the years attempts had been

a reconciliation

made

to bring

between the two Christian

Churches. Michael VIII Palaeologus had committed


his people to

Lyons

by

union with

Rome

at the

Andronicus

II.

In 1369, the Emperor,

John V, had personally submitted

to the

Pope

in

But the majority of the clergy and people

were too loyal


of

Council of

only to have the union repudiated

in 1274,

his son,

Italy.

making

to the

Orthodox Church

think

to

theological concessions for political ends,

and memories of the Fourth Crusade had

left

them

understandably suspicious of Latin motives. "Better the Sultan's

turban than the Cardinal's hat "a

slogan attributed to Lucas Notaras, Byzantium's


last

Grand Admiral

of the Fleet expressed the pop-

and

Ferrara and

first at

at Florence.

After endless debate

union be-

a declaration of

tween the Orthodox and Latin Churches was signed


in 1439.

Though some

Orthodox representa-

of the

endorse the declaration, the Pope was

tives did not

encouraged.

And

the failure of a Turkish attempt to

another crusade against the Turks.


led

was

It

to

be

by King Vladislav of Poland and Hungary.

Troops recruited by the Pope

commanded by

the

in

West were

papal legate. Cardinal Julian Ce-

sarini. In 1444, the

crusading force reached Varna,

on the shores of the Black Sea, and was attacked

In 1413 the dynastic struggles

subsided with the accession of

1422 the Turks were again

stantinople.

among the Turks


new sultan, and

at the walls of

Con-

revolt in Anatolia saved the situa-

tion this time, but the

Turkish army again ravaged

the Peloponnese. The Emperor, John VIII Palaeolo-

gus, decided to

King Vladislav and Cardinal Cesarini were


In 1448, another
this

last

make one more

effort to enlist

West-

to

It

was

the final

support the dying empire. The

years of Byzantium had come.

new

In 1451, a

Sultan,

Turkish throne and

at

Mehmet

To make

and magnitude of the

the strength

would not thwart the


skill of a

inherited the

II,

once began preparation for

the capture of Constantinople.

ices

killed.

Hungarian force was defeated,

time on the plain of Kossovo.

Western attempt

city's

Mehmet

attack,

sure that
walls

enlisted the

Hungarian engineer. Urban, whose serv-

had been turned down by the Byzantines be-

cause they could not afford to pay him. The engineer, offered every facility

sive

large

caliber,

smash

the mas-

The

largest

of

these

for its time: its barrel

meas-

of the walls.

monster

of

to

enough

to be big

masonry

cannon was

by the Turks, provided

army with cannon

the Sultan's

which were

ular attitude.

in

sentatives of the Latin Church,

then

of bishops

and met with repre-

by the Turks. The Crusaders were routed, and both

Rome.

to

number

theologians, he sailed to Italy

capture Belgrade in 1440 provoked him to preach

in July of 1402.

There was

ern aid. Taking with him a

ured 26 feet in length and

it

fired balls

weighing

1,200 pounds.

Mehmet

diligently trained his Janissaries.

troops were

made up

of

men born

These

to the Sultan's

Christian subjects. Every Christian family in Turk167

ish

dominions was forced

demanded by

child

were brought up

hand over any male

to

the Sultan's officials.


schools,

in special

them were destined

and most of
guard

for the Sultan's

ments. They had their

own

The boys
regi-

barracks, were forbid-

the next six weeks.

at

On

ish troops

April 18 a

was repulsed.

On

military fraternity, with ideals of service

and dedi-

combination of engineering and

The Turkish

cation similar to those of Western orders like the

Mehmet

took two years to complete his prepara-

On March 23, 1453, he set out from AdrianOn the fifth of April he arrived outside the

tions.

ople.

walls of

Constantinople, where the bulk of his

army had already taken up

The
logus.

city

its

positions.

He had been crowned

at Mistra, in the Pelo-

at

Constantinople. That

city,

poverished, reduced, was virtually


of his empire. There
aid,

resi-

weakened, im-

all

that

was

left

was scant prospect of foreign

though toward the end the Pope dispatched

three galleys filled with

arms and food, which

ar-

had previously

boom

prodigious

tactical

surprise.

break

tried to

stretched across the en-

trance to the Horn, but had been beaten back by


the handful of Christian ships

guarding

defeat had humiliated the Sultan.

an Italian
bility of

was ruled by Constantine XI Palaeo-

ponnese, and shortly afterward had taken up

dence

fleet

through the floating

Templars.

Not
day,

April 22, however, the

Sultan captured the Golden Horn by

and constituted an

all

by Turk-

assault

first

religious-

to marry,

heroic.

night they succeeded in repairing the breaches

in the walls.

elite,

den

It

was probably

camp who suggested

in his

The

it.

the possi-

hauling the ships overland from the Bos-

porus and insinuating them into the Horn behind


its

defenses. In Italy, the Venetians had recently

dragged an entire

fleet

over the

flat

terrain

that

separated the River Po from Lake Garda. But never


before had this been done on ground where

all

of

the ridges were at least 200 feet above sea level.

Mehmet was

Nevertheless,

ample men and material

weeks

determined, and he had

command.

at his

more than

took

It

mile of roadway

rived in time to be of use. After prolonged debate,

several

Venice sent two transports, and

between the Bosporus and the Horn. Then, on

15 galleys,

later

but these ships did not leave Venice until after


the siege

was well under way, and they never did

reach Constantinople.

Constantine
a force

ants.

rallied to the

comprising

all

defense of the capital

the city's able-bodied inhabit-

But of these 5,000 Byzantines and 2,000

military men.
tian

The

were professional

the Sultan's

final

prep-

cannon

continuous volleys

fired

Horn and

black

the

at the

smoke

to hide

bil-

the

ac-

tivities there.

At dawn

the following

day

command

sion began.

More than 70

of the Turkish ships in

latter

under the

Giovanni Giustiniani Longo. The

for casting stones, but they

of his can-

into action. Five days later, the great

continued with hardly

fantastic proces-

and

to shore.

Teams

bows and squads

of oxen were harnessed


of

men

helped push and

pull along the sides. Slowly the vessels creaked

faced a force at least 80,000 strong.

April 6 the Sultan brought some

the Bosporus had been tied to wheeled cradles

to the

It

pace as thou-

divert the attention of the Christians,

lowed up the Bosporus, helping

dragged

ment began.

To

entrance to the

muskets and mangonels

On

a frantic

sands of laborers were drafted into the

defenders were well armed with javelins, arrows,

non

foreigners were mostly Vene-

and Genoese, the

of the brilliant

for-

to lay

work assumed

April 21, the

arations.

eigners, only a small proportion

168

The defense was

only did the defenders keep ceaseless watch

over the ridges, to the eerie accompaniment of

bombard-

and drums. In each galley the

pause for

hoisted, ready for sea,

sails

and the oarsmen

up

fifes

were fully
sat at their

CONQUEROR OF CONSTANTINOPLE,
allowed his soldiers

made

then reimposed order,

man empire and

the Turkish Sultan

Mehmet II
He

to pillage for the custorrtarx/ three days.

new

the city the

turned a number of

capital of the Otto-

churches into mosques.

its

silver

and gold and precious stones,

dens,

its

fighting for

Paradise.

its

fine gar-

and young men. Those who died

girls

would enter

Faith

the

Those who

lived

into

directly

would have the

tradition-

three days to pillage the city.

al

Inside Constantinople

on that same day

solemn

procession was held. Icons, the bones of saints and

golden and jeweled crosses were borne round the


city's walls.

Soldiery and populace were blessed.

Afterward, the Emperor addressed his


ers

and chief

was upon them,

trial

be ready to

He

citizens.

told

them

It

places and pulled their oars through the air to a

beat given by officers


sight of

this

who paced

monstrous

the slopes and

numbed Constantinople's

into

down

lumbering

flotilla

slithering

The

alongside.

Golden Horn

the

The

defenders.

city's

long

and vulnerable stretch of walls lining the Horn was


no longer safe from
capital

by land and

attack.

Having surrounded the

sea, the

Turks

in early

May

again attacked a section of the landward walls,

still

was now evening. All who could

be spared from the defenses and

move

must

that, like himself, they

and that with God's help they

die,

might triumph.

able to

command-

that the great

who were

still

repaired to the great church of Hagia

Sophia. Patriarch and cardinal. Orthodox and Latin


clergy.

Emperor and nobles,

and Catalans all

Greeks, Italians

what was

be the

to

and

soldiers

citizens,

took

part

Christian service

last

in

be

to

held in the church that for so long had stood as


the

symbol and heart of Byzantium's sacred Chris-

tian empire.

When

the service

was over, each man

returned to his post.


Giustiniani and his men,

and Greeks,

Italians

only to be repulsed twice by the desperate valor of

took up their positions between the inner and outer

the Byzantines.

walls opposite the

On May

25

the

Sultan made

would spare the

proposal

for

head of the

weak spot from which the spearattack was expected. As they passed

on condition that an

through the inner walls, the gates were locked be-

annual tribute be paid; alternatively, the citizens

hind them, making retreat impossible. Later that

peace: he

city

could have free passage to safety

if

they gave up

the city. Both offers were rejected.

tion.

The Turks, discouraged because


week
to

seven-

their

siege had not yet succeeded, almost decided

withdraw. But after

pause the assault was

re-

newed. Toward dusk on the 29th the Sultan addressed his ministers and his

army

leaders.

He

minded them of the sacred prophecies

that

Faithful should take the city; he spoke to

them

its

treasures,

its

palaces,

its

night the Emperor

churches

filled

re-

the
of

with

Then he

made

too took

his final tour of inspec-

up

his station.

Shortly before 2 a.m. the assault began.


clash of cymbals, the shrill notes of

back.

wave
It

of

Turks attacked, only

seemed

But by mistake
left

open

To

the

the cries

and the thunder of cannon, wave

of the soldiers
after

fifes,

that the city


a

to be

beaten

might again be saved.

small gate a sally-port had been

in the outer walls.

Some Turks found

it

and entered. Then Giustiniani was wounded, and


169

although the Emperor begged him not

to leave his

down

to a

Genoese troops

left

post he was carried from the field and

Genoese

Many

ship.

of

his

when Constantinople was

poses been terminated

sacked during the Fourth Crusade. But Byzantium

had

set the seal of its civilization

own

whole

the

with him. Outside the walls the Sultan noticed the

Balkan world. In

confusion, and once more he ordered his Janis-

threnes of the Greek ballad-makers, in the

This time they were successful.

saries to charge.

They

way over

forced their

reached the inner wall.

the outer wall and

Turkish

flag

was flown

from one of the towers, and the cry went up that


the city

was

lost.

Constantine XI Palaeologus, the

Byzantine emperors,

last of the

knew

that the end

from him, he flung himself into

his royal insignia

its

lands

it

survived in the

mem-

ory and ritual of the Orthodox Church, in the pa-

devotion of village priest or

tient

monk from

Holy Mountain of Athos. Some 400 years


1821, the Greeks were to rise once

Turkish overlords and

their

One Orthodox
kept

the
in

later,

more against

to lay the foundations

modern Greek kingdom.

of the

had come. Dismounting from his horse and casting

Christian

however,

state,

still

independence. The conquering Sultan had

its

many ways

the thick of the advancing Janissaries, never to be

scarcely given a thought to Russia, in

seen again.

the principal heir to the historical mission of By-

That afternoon the Sultan made

his entry, es-

corted by his bodyguard of Janissaries.

day

pillage permitted

ready under way.

The

three-

by Islamic tradition was

When

al-

he reached the gates of

Hagia Sophia the Sultan dismounted, stooped down

which he

let fall

on

his

act of humiliation before the

him

up

threshold and scooped

the

at

earth,

turbaned head as an

God who had brought

victory. Later he entered the deserted halls

and

As he

gazed about him he murmured the words of


Persian poet:

"The

spider weaves the curtains in

the palace of the Caesars; the owl

zantium.

watches

calls the

in Afrasiab's towers."

It

was

Byzantium that Russia owed

to

served.

Though

Emperor had

the sacred

fallen, the

the

fall

tium had ceased


heir to

to exist as a

political

Byzan-

entity.

As

and preserver of the cultural tradition of

the ancient

Greco-Roman world, and

Dynastically the claim could be supported by


the fact that Ivan

III

of

Moscow had

grew out

of the Renaissance,

filled its historical role. Its

Byzantium had

mission as

ful-

an Orthodox

Christian state, inspired by the vision of uniting


all

mankind

into a single

human

protection of the Cross, had to

all

society under the


intents

and pur-

married Prin-

cess Sophia of the Palaeologus house. But, as with

Byzantium

what was more important than

itself,

dynastic link was the force of the idea, of the mysvision of a sacred Christian society under the

tical

rule of a single semidivine emperor. This led

to

the assumption by the Russian ruler of the impe-

Byzantine

tine

title

of "Autocrat"; to the modeling

ceremony on the Byzan-

example; and to the adoption by the Russians

of the double-headed eagle of the house of Palaeologus.

The

as the bridge

between that world and the modern world that

its

Russia by inheritance.

rial

of the Byzantine capital,

Orthodox empire and

mission of both went to

of the Russian coronation

With

its

conversion to Christianity. This faith Russia pre-

handful of

galleries of the half-ruined imperial palace.

170

on

historical

implementation of the idea of the

theocratic state inherited

Christian form by
1918.

On

las

and

at

II,

from Rome and given

Byzantium lasted

until July 16,

that night, the last Russian Czar,


his family,

Ekaterinburg and

tine political heritage

Nicho-

were killed by the Bolsheviks


after 1,600 years the

had come

to

an end.

Byzan-

THE DOUBLE-HEADED EAGLE, emblem of Byzantium,

flies

over a monastery on the Creek island of Patmos.

STRONGHOLDS OF BYZANTIUM
The Byzantine

tradition lives

on today

in

Orthodox monasteries scattered

far

and

wide throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Originally these monasteries were


built like fortresses

and situated

in

inaccessible placeson islands,

taintops and in the desert in order to protect


pirates.

on moun-

them from the attacks of Arab

Crusaders and marauding Turks. In recent centuries, however,

lation has served to protect the religious

modern world. Immune


imperial flag (above),
time, in true

Roman

to change,

this iso-

communities from the inroads of the

Orthodox monks

still

remember Byzantine emperors

in

paint icons, display the


their prayers,

and

tell

fashion, not by clocks but by the elevation of the sun.


171

^-;-.>,

^fi%0-s

4STV.^^

IV Wi^

^^ -^
.V-.

--

-i'-*-

'^

-^^

^^. i

><^,

RELIGIOUS OASIS

One

of the world's

the foot of

Mount

first

Sinai

.,

monasteries, St. Catherine's,

lies

on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, where

at
it

has functioned for 1,400 years as a remote outpost of By172

zantine Orthodoxy. Built by the Emperor Justinian in the Sixth

'^rr

^"^

'M/

^>>^

'"*

*^f

r^/:'^"

*^r,

<r

^.^4^^!x'

^
4A*

^
P

'

^
*

>':

Century,

St.

Catherine's was designed to house pilgrims

came from every corner

of

Christendom

place where Moses, according to the


the

Ten Commandments from God.

to

worship

Old Testament,
St.

at

who
the

received

Catherine's original

walls

still

Justinian

stand. Descendants of the Bedouin servants


first

attached to St. Catherine's

still

work

whom
for the

monks, and modern scholars study illuminated manuscripts


that

were presented centuries ago as

gifts

from the throne.

Ef?r
r 'if

I-:.

,^.-

'-'

^.C*?i^

HOLY MOUNTAINS
After

its

Third Century beginnings in Egypt, mo-

nasticism spread over

of Byzantium:

all

by the

men lived as
began when a her-

Eighth Century tens of thousands of

monks.

monastery usually

mit, living in a cave or a


a

band of pious

mountain hut, attracted

followers,

who

eventually organ-

ized into formal communities such as those at

Me-

teora in the plains of central Greece (above) or at

Mount Athos
la in

(right). Isolated

on

narrow peninsu-

the Aegean, the 20 monasteries

mitages of

Mount Athos continue

and 200 her-

to function

un-

der the provisions of ancient imperial charters and


the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
174

AN AERIAL RETREAT,

the

monastery

of

Roussanou

at

Meteora on the Greek mainland.

(left),

crowns a

hilltop

Once such places could be reached


when monks lowered ladders or

only

nets;

CLIFF

now

steps

DWELLINGS

lead

to

(rig /if;, the

the peaks.

caves and

huts of hermits, dot the southern tip


of Athos peninsula in Greece.
mits,

who were

the

Her-

first religious in-

habitants of Athos, started coming to


the peninsula in the Ninth Century.

THE GREAT LA VRA. oldest monastery on Mount Athos, was founded


in 963 A.D. on the site of a temple to the Greek goddess Athena.

The Great Lavra defended


attackers.

Today

its

itself

with cannon more than once against

rambling galleries and

cells

house 80 monks.
175

-(

M.

lA.

A HERITAGE OF WORK AND PRAYER


"Think much and
Basil, the

the

father of

Orthodox monk

tive ideal

pouse

of

talk

Httle,

"

still

pursues

the

three

even though

(left),

brother of

vows

the

Greek word

for "holy."

Mount

Almost every

has an assigned job; some are black-

smiths, tailors or artists, while others farm,

fashion religious objects or repair buildings.

A SILENT

MOMENT during
monk reads

occurs as a

John's Monastery on

the day's activities


his breviary at St.

Patmos

Island.

Emperor Alexius donated the island


monastery

400 years

in 1088.

later,

Patmos and

When

is

and
of

Constantinople

hundreds of refugees

The

for the
fell

fled to

settled close to St. John's xoalls.

all

from the
in

sale of their handicrafts, almost

stark cells and eat

Obedience

their walls.

are

daily schedule

profound, for
profits

frugal

of

is

and then

To
women

fasting,

within

meditating and

pray-

through the night;

never stop praying except

for

ensure

cultivated by a rigorous

ing. In fact, prayers are said all

many men

dwell

all

meals.

chastity, most monasteries forbid

es-

poverty,

few brothers may keep the

Athos carves a wooden vase inscribed with

monk

contempla-

Most monks

chastity and obedience. Poverty

WORK

this

simple, unquestioning faith

Saint

Byzantine monasticism, and

16 centuries ago.

pledged to uphold

DEEP IN

instructed

no more than two hours

to
at

sleep
a

time.

iiiiiiiiinTTiT;]?

-'-'

'V^/
'

yr^% 1H
l-t-, J
*.i><^

^^

^u

^4

ii-

i
^.,1*>

^HtfH

M
^-

LIVING

%-^.,

WITH THE PAST

^.J-

Life
is

on Mount Athos, the

a total

asteries
ical

178

capital of Byzantine n\onasticism,

and intentional anachronism. None of the mon-

was

built after the 16th Century; the

habits" date from the imperial age.

monks' "angel-

When

the

members

j:.'

-f

M'

b.

of theDionysiou monastery eat (above), they

zantine murals of saints and martyrs and

er read a traditional lesson against gluttony.

drink traces back to an even more

sit

beneath By-

listen to a broth-

The wine they

remote, mythical time: Di-

onysus himself, the Greek god of wine, supposedly planted


the monastery's vineyard. So avidly do the monks hold to
their past that

even

now

in

formal letters they

call their estab-

lishments "the Imperial Monasteries of the Holy Mountain.

"

179

.^'iT

-.r

A CONTINUING CALL TO
During the

last

50 years the fortunes of

Athos have entered upon


1,500

monks

asteries

Mount

steep decline.

inhabit the community's several

now, one-fifth of the number who

thus at the turn of the century. Before World


3,500

monks came from Russia

Moreover, every year fewer recruits come

Only

from Greece, Romania and Bulgaria. But

mon-

of

lived

has experienced lean times before and gone on to

War

alone, but today the

Russian monastery numbers only about 30 survi180

vors.

PIETY

Byzantium,"

prosper.
ties.

As

as the

monks

call

the world wearies of

Orthodox monks hope the

its

this

"Ark

Mount Athos,

own

complexi-

disillusioned will

return to the simple virtues of their holy faith.

?^^

A CHARNEL HOUSE at Athos shelters the


bones of former mortks. Because burial
space

is

scarce, bones are

three years

and

exhumed

after

piled here. Biographies of

some brothers are written on

their skulls.

monk

strikes a

ANNOUNCING PRAYERS,

mallet against a long

wooden gong,

or

semantron, as he crosses a monastery


courtyard at Athos. Semantrons are holdovers from a time

when

bells did not exist

APPENDIX

AD

CROSSROAD
CIVILIZATIONS BETWEEN
EAST AND WEST
The chart

at right

is

designed to

show

the

duration of the Byzantine empire, and to


relate

it

to others in the

"Crossroad" group

of cultures that are considered in one


jor

group of volumes of

chart

is

excerpted from

this series.
a

maThis

comprehensive

world chronology which appears in the


introductory booklet to the series.!

Com-

parison of the chart seen here with the

world chronology will enable the reader to


relate the crossroad civilizations to

impor>.

tant cultures in other parts of the world.

On

the following pages

ical listing

is

chronolog-

of important events that took

place in the period covered by this book.

183

"

CHRONOLOGY: A

becomes

listing of significant events

emperor of the Roman Empire

during the Byzantine empire

324

Constantine

3Z5

First

330

Constantinople, the

614

Jerusalem

337

Constantine the Great dies

626

Constantinople

361

The Harbor

635

Arab conquest

363

Treaty with Persians results in loss of the empire's Armenian lands and

638

Jerusalem

641

Arabs begin

649

The Arabs'

668

Emperor Constans

668

Constantine IV becomes emperor

sole

Ecumenical Council

in the

new capital

of Julian

is

610

called at Nicaea

is

Empire,

is

dedicated

constructed at Constantinople

much

of those

Mesopotamian region

Ambrose becomes Bishop

374

St.

378

The Aqueduct

379

Theodosius

390

The

395

Arcadius becomes emperor

of Valcns

is

of Milan

completed

in the center of

Constantinople

begins his 16-year rule, establishing the Theodosian Dynasty

obelisk of Theodosius

is

erected in the

Hippodrome

400

404

St.

John Chrysostom
Hagia Sophia

Theodosius

II

is

is

exiled because of his criticism of

captured by the Persians


is

their

first

Arabs begin

Carthage, the

attacked by the Avars

of Persia

falls to

673

447

The

sacked by Alaric the Visigoth

walls of Constantinople are

455

Rome

463

The monastery

474

Zeno marries Ariadne, daughter

476

The

last

triple walls is

begun under Theodosius

II

damaged by earthquake

sacked by the Vandals


of St. John of Stoudion

is

founded

Leo the Wise, and begins his rule

of

Western Emperor, Romulus Augustulus,

the imperial office in the

Anastasius

717

is

begun

the Arabs under Caliph

Omar

conquest of Egypt

naval expedition goes to sea against Byzantium


II is

murdered

their first attack


last

bath at Syracuse by a

in his

member

of his entourage

on Constantinople

Byzantine stronghold in Africa,

falls to

the Arabs

Arabs begin another siege of Constantinople, but are defeated by the emperor -general
Leo

Rome

is

in the resulting

C.726

Construction of Constantinople's

is

Empress Eudoxia;

succeeds Arcadius

410

West comes

to

is

an end

III,

The

who

reigns thereafter for 24 years

iconoclastic controversy begins

victorious over the Arabs at Poitiers

732

Charles Martel

750

The Umayyad Caliphate

751

Ravenna

is

captured by the Lombards, and the Byzantine exarchate comes to an end

762

Baghdad

is

founded by the Caliph

780

Constantine VI becomes emperor

787

Seventh and

deposed by Odovar the Ostrogoth, and

797

marries the Empress Ariadne, becomes emperor and reigns for 27 years

is

last

collapses and

el

is

succeeded by the Abbasid Caliphate

Mansur

Ecumenical Council recognized by the Eastern Church meets

and condemns

hostility to icons as heresy

The

ambitious Irene, mother of Constantine VII, blinds her

politically

own son

in

to

Nicaea

become

sole ruler, calling herself "emperor

800

500

son of an lllyrian peasant, lakes the Byzantine throne

518

Justin

525

Antioch

527

Justinian,

I,

destroyed by earthquake

is

nephew

of Justin

I,

becomes emperor and reigns

Theodora; Constantinople reaches


527

The Church

529

The Code

532

Hagia Sophia and other buildings


the
St.

Nika

of Saints Sergius

of Justinian

riots;

is

its

cultural

and Bacchus

is

for 38 years with his wife,

and economic zenith

erected

adopted as the basis of Byzantine law

construction

is

in

Constantinople are severely damaged by

begun on present Hagia Sophia; underground

fire

during

cistern

Justin

578

Tiberius

II

800

The

802

Palace revolution deposes Irene and proclaims Nicephorus emperor

Constantine, adopted son of Justin

Gregory the Great becomes pope

in

Rome

West

is

revived by the coronation of Charlemagne

Armenian ascends the throne

813

Leo

The second phase of

the iconoclast synod takes place in Constantinople

820

Phrygian Michael

succeeds the murdered Leo

829

Reign of Theophilus begins and coincides with period of Muslim culture's greatest

842

The

the

influence

ascends the throne as emperor


I

imperial office in the

815

and

Savior in Chora are built

565

590

is

697

burned

413

491

hero in wars

700

riots,

408

a military

against the Persians

Roman

of the

Heraclius begins his rule of 31 years, distinguishes himself as

II

V on Christmas

on Byzantium

iconoclastic controversy

comes

to

an end; Constantinople enjoys a renaissance of

the arts
II

and the Empress Sophia, becomes emperor

860

The Russians make

867

Basil

their first attack

on the Byzantine

founds the Macedonian Dynasty

capital

and are repulsed

'900

1200

MM

Arabs trin ThfMalonici. ihr Mcond gmtctt city oi thr empirr

1201

The Fourth Crusade begins

913

Th rmpcTor-tchoiar. Conslantin

1204

Constantinople

927

Pcacr Ircily achieved between Bulgar5 ami Byiantium

941

Russians

944

Threatening battle forces of Russia's Prince Igor leads to commercial treaty

make surpnse

VII Pof phyragmilu*. bgin his rvign

attack and lay waste to Asiatic shore of Bosporus


tviih ihe

1204

Theodore

1222

lohn

Russians

94>

Romanus

Russian Princess Olga

one of Byzantium

I.

Nicephorus

John

97e

The

s greatest rulers, dies in exile as a

monk

1261

III

becomes the

Lascaris

Dukas Vatazrs marries

first

of the

Irene,

Creek emperors

daughter of Theodore

Empress Theophano.

to the

1274

Tzimisces becomes emperor by marrying Theodora, sister of

last great ruler in the

Macedonian Dynasty.

Basil

conquers the Bulgarian kingdom and annexes

Basil

1025

Basil dies

11,

Romanus

C.I290

II

ascends the throne

St.

Savior in Chora

Ihe

Church

is

Roman

of the Blessed Virgin in

1^46

Cenoese take the important trading center of Chios

1064

Hungarians occupy Belgrade

1349

The Tower

1067

Turks storm Caesarea

1354

The Ottoman Turks

1071

Byzantium

St.

the

and the heroic age of Byzantium

Savior Panlrpopte

is

overcome by the 5el|uk Turks

is

Normans and

in

Hagia Sophia

at the Battle of

Manzikert: Bari

is

is lost

Comnenus becomes emperor, establishing the Comneni Dynasty

1061

The imperial court moves

1096

The

1099

The Kingdom

First

concluded

the last Byzantine stroi\ghold in southern Italy

Alexius

is

and mosaics are restored

built

1091

Crusade

is

newly enlarged Blachemae Palace

to the

captured by

of Jerusalem

is

of Calata

is

added to

is

1359

Ottoman Turks invade

The Serbian empire

1391

Manuel

1393

begin, diminishing the Byzantine empire

other cities to become masters of Asia Minor

built in Constantinople

lo the walls of

falls to

the

Turks

Constantinople
at Ihe Battle of

Kossovo

begins his 34-year reign

II

Bulgarian Empire subjugated by the Ottomans

who

hold thai country for Ihe subsequent

500 years

estabbshed by the Crusaders

1397

Constantinople

is

attacked by the

Ottoman Sultan Bayazid

1400

by Timur

Ankara

11 II

Byzantines grant important trading rights lo Pisans

1402

The Turks

1120

The monastery

1422

Constantinople

1425

lohn VIII becomes emperor and rules for 23 years

1430

Ottoman

I43S

The Council

of Si Savior Panioiraior

is

founded

Th* Second Crusade begins

149

Byzantines, aided by Vertetians. retake Corfu from

ISO

The walls

of

Manuel

Vcnetijm throughout the empire

IM

The Serbian mortarchy

lt5

AndroniiuM

is

is

is

are arrested

and

established by Stephen

tortured to death

The second Bulgarian empire


Jerusalem

Normans

are built lo enclose the Blacherrue Palace

197

Chapel

takeCallipoli

13S9

launched

^1100

1199

12

its territories

The Byzantine Church breaks with Rome

for

Pammakaristo*

The Turks capture Nicaea and

IIM

and rules

faith

Ottoman Turkish conquests

1171

Lascaris,

restored and mosaics installed, the Parecclesion

1329

47

Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII comrs to terms with Pope Cregory X. acknowledging

1300

1 1

Nlcaea

1300

1017

1054

of

of Nicaea

Michael VIII Palaeoktgus takes Constantinople from Lalin control and establishes the

papal primacy and the

II

1000

C.102S

Comnenus founds

Creek empire

dynasty of the Palaeologi

feted at imperial court

is

Phocas gains the throne through his marriage

II

widow of Romanus
969

captured by troop* of the Fourth Crusade. Alemus

years

957

9U

is

the stale of Trebirond. and Theodore Lascaris establishes the

IS

founded

captured by Saladin

The Third Crasaden launched

is

attacked by

at the Battle of

Ottoman Sultan Murad

II

forces capture Salonika


of Ferrara attempts to

end the

religious

schism between East and West in

hopes that Christian union might save Ihe empire

their properties confiscated

Nemania

are defeated

unsuccessfully besieged by the Turks

1440

Belgrade

1449

Constanlme XI Dtagaset.

1452

The Turks

1453

Constantinople

is

last of

the Byzantine emperors, begins his four year reign

build the fortress Remeli Hisar. closing the Bosporus lo Christian invaders
is

By/..nl,r,r,mpn,

besieged by

Mehmel

II

and

at last falls lo the

Turks, ending the

These books were selected during the preparation of

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ume

for their interest

and authority, and

An

asterisk (*) marks works available in both hard-cover and


paperback editions; a dagger (f) indicates availability only in

this vol-

for their usefulness

paperback.

readers seeking additional information on specific points.

to

ART AND ARCHITECTURE

Downey,

Glanville, Constantinople in the

Age

of Justinian.

University

of

Oklahoma

Press, 1960.

Ainalov, D. V., The Hellenistic Origins of


Rutgers University Press, 1961.

Byzantium.

Transl.

by

S.

X.

B.

Hartley.

Beckwith, John, The Art of Constantinople. Phaidon, 1961.


Bihalji-Merin, Oto, Byzantine Frescoes and Icons in Yugoslavia. Abrams, 1958.

Modern

Ravenna Mosaics. New York Graphic Society, 1956.


tChatzidakis, Manolis and Andre Grabar, Byzantine and Early Medieval Painting.
Compass, 1966.
tConstable, W. G., The Painters' Workshop. Beacon Paperbacks, 1963.
Demus, Otto, Byzantine Mosaic Decoration. Kegan Paul Trench Trubner, London, 1947.
Demus, Otto, and Ernst Diez, Byzantine Mosaics in Greece. Harvard University Press,
Bovini, Giuseppe,

1931.

ed.,

G.

P.

Putnam,

An Aesthetic Approach

Byzantine Art. Batsford, 1964.


Morey, C. R., Christian Art. W. W. Norton, 1958.
Rice, David Talbot, v4rf of the Byzantine Era. Frederick A. Praeger, 1963.
Rice, David Talbot, The Art of Byzantium. Henry N. Abrams, 1959.
Rice, David Talbot, Masterpieces of Byzantine Art. Aldine, 1958.
Simpson's History of Early Christian, Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture, Vol.
Michelis, P. A.,

tHitti, Philip K.,

J.

H., History of

Western Civilization. Macmillan, 1962.

The History of the Arabs.

St. Martin's, 1963.

tHussey, John M., The Byzantine World. Harper Torchbooks, 1961.


tLemerle, Paul, A History of Byzantium. Walker, 1964.
Liddell, Robert, Byzantium and Istanbul. Lawrence Verry, 1958.
Lindsay, Jack, Byzantium into Europe. Humanities, 1952.
Ostrogorsky, George, History of the Byzantine State. Transl. by Joan Hussey. Rutgers
B.

Dewing. Loeb Classical Library,

1961.

'Procopius, Secret History. Transl. by Richard Atwater. University of


1961.

1963.
to

vols.

Library, 1966.

Hayes, Carleton

University Press, 1957.


Procopius, History of the Wars. 7 vols. Transl. by H.

Grabar, Andre, Byzantine Painting. Skira, 1953.


Krautheimer, Richard, Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture. Penguin, 1965.

Larousse Encyclopedia of Byzantine and Medieval Art. Rene Huyghe,

Dvornick, Frances, The Slavs in European History. Rutgers University Press, 1962.
Every, George, The Byzantine Patriarchate. Seabury, 1962.
Gibbon, Edward, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: 80 A.D.-395 A.D. 3

Michigan

Press,

David Talbot, The Byzantines. Thames & Hudson, 1962.


David Talbot, and W. Swaan, Constantinople, from Byzantium to Istanbul. Stein
Day, 1965.
Rice, David Talbot, Dark Ages. Thames & Hudson, 1965.
*Runciman, Steven, A History of the Crusades. 3 vols. Cambridge University Press,
Rice,

Rice,

&

II.

Longmans, 1962.
tThompson, Daniel V., The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting. Dover, 1957.
Volbach, W. F., and Max Hirmer, Early Christian Art: The Late Roman and Byzantine
Empires from the Third to the Seventh Century. Henry N. Abrams, 1962.
Weitzmann, Kurt, Greek Mythology in Byzantine Art. Princeton University Press, 1951.
Cecil Stewart, ed.,

1954.

'Runciman, Steven, Byzantine Civilization. St. Martin's, 1966.


Runciman, Steven, The Fall of Constantinople, 1453. Cambridge
1965.
Stewart, Cecil, Byzantine Legacy. G. Allen

History
the
A.
A.,
of
University of Wisconsin Press, 1964.

tVasiliev,

GEOGRAPHY

*White, Lynn,

Jr.,

&

University

Press,

Unwin, London, 1949.


Byzantine

Empire:

324-1453.

Medieval Technology and Social Change. Oxford

at

the

vols.

Clarendon

Press, 1962.

Edward Whiting, ed.. Atlas of European History. Oxford University


tMcEvedy, Colin, The Penguin Atlas of Medieval History. Penguin, 1961.
*Fox,

Press,

1964.

Shepherd, William R., Historical Atlas. Barnes & Noble, 1964.


Van Der Meer, F., and Christine Mohrmann, Atlas of the Early Christian World. Thomas
Nelson, 1959.

GENERAL HISTORY
Norman H., Byzantine Studies and Other Essays. Oxford University Press, 1960.
Norman H., The Byzantine Empire. Oxford University Press, 1958.
Norman H.,and Henry St. L. B. Moss, eds., Byzantium: An Introduction to
East Roman Civilization. Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1962.
fBury, ]. B., History of the Later Roman Empire, 1 vols. Dover, 1958.
Baynes,
Baynes,

tBaynes,

&

The Cambridge Medieval History, Vol.

Byzantine Empire.

University Press, 1957.

by Harold

Bell.

AND PHILOSOPHY

Cambridge University

Choukas, Michael, Black Angels of Athos. Stephen Daye, 1934.


Diehl, Charles, Byzantine Empresses. Transl. by Harold Bell and Theresa de Kerpely.
Alfred A. Knopf, 1963.
Diehl, Charles, Byzantium, Greatness and Decline. Transl. by Naomi Walford. Rutgers
Transl.

Publishing Company, 1940.


Montross, Lynn, War through the Ages. Harper & Brothers, 1960.
Oman, Charles, A History of War in the Middle Ages. 2 vols. Burt Franklin, 1924.
Payne-Gallway, Sir Ralph, The Crossbow. The Holland Press, London, 1964.
Toy, Sidney, y4 History of Fortification from 3000 B.C. to A.D. 1700. William Heinemann, Ltd., London, 1955.

Russell, 1964.

Press, 1966.

Diehl, Charles, Byzantine Portraits.

Anderson, R. C, Oared Fighting Ships. Percival Marshall, London, 1962.


Mitchell, Colonel William A., Outlines of the World's Military History. Military Service

RELIGION

Byron, Robert, Byzantine Achievement. Russell


IV,

MILITARY HISTORY

Alfred

A.

Knopf, 1927.

Diehl, Charles, History of the Byzantine Empire. Transl. by George B. Ives. Princeton
University Press, 1945.

tBenz, Ernst, The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life. Transl. by Richard
and Clara Winston. Anchor, 1963.
French, R. M., The Eastern Orthodox Church. Hutchinson's University Library, 1951.
Sherrard, Philip, Constantinople: Iconography of a Sacred City. Oxford University
Press, 1965.

Sherrard, Philip, /If/ios, the Mountain of Silence. Oxford University Press, 1960.
fWare, Timothy, The Orthodox Church. Penguin, 1963.
Zernov, Nicolas, Eastern Christendom: A Study and Development of the
Orthodox Church. G. P. Putnam, 1961.

Eastern

ART INFORMATION AND PICTURE CREDITS


The sources for the illustrations in this book are set forth
below. Descriptive notes on the works of art are included.
Credits for pictures positioned from left to right are separated

Cover St. Demetrios, mosaic

mid 11th

c.

detail

(Erich Lessing from

from the Church of Hosios Loukas, Phocis, Greece,

Magnum).

CHAPTER 1: 10 Shroud of St. Germain I'Auxerrois, silk, 9th c. Church of St. Eusebius, Auxerre, France (Eric Schaal). 15 Personifications of Rotne and Constantinople,
ivory diptych, 5th c, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (Photo Emile). 17 Martyrdom
of St. Domninus, manuscript illumination from the Menologion of Basil II, Vatican Ms.
Grec. 1613, page 78, 979-984, Vatican Library, Rome (Dmitri Kessel). 19 Dream of Constantine and Battle of Milvian Bridge, detail of manuscript illumination from the Homilies
of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Ms. grec. 510, folio 440, 867-886, Bibliotheque Nationale,

186

by semicolons, from top

names which follow a

to

bottom by dashes. Photographers'

descriptive note appear in parentheses.

Abbreviations include "c." for century and "ca." for

circa.

21 Justinian and his Court, mosaic from the Church of San Vitale, Ravenna,
526-547 (Dmitri Kessel): Manuscript page from introduction to the Code of fus(inian, Pandette c. 16, late 6th c, Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, Florence, Italy. 22, 23
Assumption of the Virgin Mary, manuscript illumination from the Sermons of James of
Kokkinobaphos, Ms. grec. 1208, folio 3 verso, 12lh c, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris
(Courtesy Thames and Hudson, Ltd., London); Old fagade of St. Mark's, lunette mosaic
from the Duomo di San Marco, Venice, Italy, 1260-1270 (Dmitri Kessel) Bronze horses
from the Duomo di San Marco, Venice, Italy, 4th-3rd c. B.C (Dmitri Kessel). 24, 25
Relics of the Passion in Constantinople's Churches, manuscript illumination from Le
Paris. 20,
Italy,

Livre des Merveilles,

Ms.

fran. 2810, folio 144, ca. 1410, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris;

II. tilver gill on ltrr gold bate. 5o5-578. Tetoro di Sn Pirlto. Vjlicjn,
(Dmitri KmscI) 26. 27 Detail Irom the Death of St Ephraim the Syrian, panel
painting by Emmanuel Tzanphoumaris of Crete, loth c
Pinarotrca Valicana. Rome
(Emmett Bright). Coreme. Turkey (Farrell Crehan from Photo Researchers) 28. 20 BapBulgarians,
manuscript
illumination
of
the
from
Bulgarian
tism
copy of the Chronicle
of Constantme Manasses. Vatican Codex Slav 2. folio loJ verso. 1345. Vatican Library
Rome (Courtesy Thames and Hudson Ltd London). Three Holy Children in the Fiery
Furnace, fresco from Faras. Sudan. lOth-Ilth c Courtesy Prof. K Michalo%vsLi. Warsaw.
Director of Polish Excavations at Faras (Dr Ceorg Cerster from Rapho Cuillumette)

Crosof lutlin

Rome

Pierponi Morgan 1917 117-Bezant of Emperor Constantine VII PorphyrogeniI


tus.945. British Museum (IVrek Bayes) 119.I33-PhotO(|iaph* of Olympos. Greece (Constantine Mano* from Magnum) 120-Byzantine Imperial Eagle, manuscript illumination
Gift of

from Sinai Codex Gr. 2123. folio 133 recto. lSth-l6th c Monastery of St Catherine
Sinai. Egypt. Courtesy of the Mount Sinai Expeditions sponsored by the UniverMichigan. Princeton University and ihr Univritily of Alexandria (Fred Andeiegg)
122 Woman with Spindle manuscript illumination from the Buoik of loh, Ms giec 134.
folio 184 verso. 13th c
Bibliolh^ue Nationale. Paris (Eric Schaal) 129-Chrisl crowning
Romanus and Eudoxia. ivory relief, ca 950, Cabinet de MMailles. Biblioth^ue Nationale.
.

Mount
sity ol

Paris.

CHAmi

2:
30 Constantine presenting Constantinople to the Virgin, mosaic detail
from Hagia Sophia. <)$o-<><>4 (Dmitri Kessel) 35 ReUquary casket (7). ivory rehef. th7th c. Cathedral Treasury of Trier. Germany (Foto. Museum of the Bishopric of Trier)
39 Clephane Horn, ivory, lOth-llth c Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
London. 41. 44-53 Drawings by Paul Hogarth.
.

CHArnK

7: 134-Praglia Abbey. Padua. Italy (Emmett Bright)


137-Hymn of Casia
from Codex Dalassenos. Codex Vindobensis Theologicus Grecus 181. folio 232 verso. 12lh
c. Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek. Vienna, Austria-Art work by Nicholas Fasciano
after Egon Wellesz. A History^ of Byzantine Music and Hymnography. Oxford Clarendon Press. 19e2 and H
Tillyard.
Handbook of the Middle Byranline Notation."
Monumenia Musicae Byzantinae Suhndia,Vo\ \. itic I.Copenhagen. Levin and Munksgaard. 1935-Neume system by Edward Roesner after Wellesz and Tillyard 139-Drawings by Nicholas Fasciano after Cecil Stewart. Byzantine Legacy, London. George Allen
& Unwin. Ltd 1947 142-Veroli Casket, gilded ivory panels. 10th c Victoria and Albert Museum. London 145 Pantocrator. Church of St Savior in Chora. Istanbul. 13001320 (Dmitri Kessel). 146-147 Three Holy Children in the Fiery Furnace, mosaic from
the Church of Hosios Loukas. Phocis, Greece, mid-llth c. (Erich Lessing from Magnum)
148, 149 Christ Enthroned, mosaic detail from the Basilica of Sant Apollinare Nuovo,
Ravenna. Italy, early 6th c (Aldo Durazzi), Christ Enthroned, mosaic detail from the Zoe
Panel in Hagia Sophia. 1028-42 (Dmitri Kessel): Christ Enthroned, mosaic detail from the
Deesis Panel in Hagia Sophia, ca 1280 (Dmitri Kessel). 150 Detail of gold cemetery glass
from the Catacombs. 4th c Vatican Library. Rome (Dmitri Kessel). Detail of mosaic from
the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Ravenna. Italy, early 5th c (Dmitri Kessel) Detail of
encaustic wax panel painting. 7th c
Monastery of St. Catherine. Mount Sinai. Egypt
|

CMAPTTR 3: 54 St. Georgc. steatite relief. 12th c. Treasury of Vatopedi. Mount Alhos.
Greece (Dmitri Kessel) 63-73 Manuscript illuminations from the Chronicle of lohn
Scylitzes. Matritensis graecus. Vitr 2e-2 (63 folio 156. 64. 65 folio 82 verso, folio
82 folio 84. folio 83 66. 67 folio 85 verso, folio 85: folio 86 folio 86 68 folio 87
verso folio 87 folio 80 60 folio 80 verso folio 80 verso folio 102 70. 71 folio 99
verso folio 100: folio 98 verso 72 folio 104 verso folio 105 verso folio 105 verso 73
Biblioteca Nacional. Madrid (Augusto
folio 104 verso: folio 105folio 102.) 14th c
.

Mmnti)

CHArm

4: 74 Emperor John Cantacuzene and the Council of 1351. manuscript illumiiutton from the "Manuscript of Cantacuzene." Ms. grec. 1242. folio 5 verso,
1370-75 Bibliotheque Nationale. Paris (Eric Schaal) 76 Head of Nicephoras Phocas.
manuscript illumination from the Chronicle of |ohn Scylitzes. Matritensis graecus. Vitr.
26-2. foUo 157 verso. 14th c. Biblioteca Nacional. Madrid (Augusto Meneses). 78 Empress Theodora, mosaic detail from the Church of San Vitale. Ravenna. Italy. 526-547
(Dmitri Kessel): Empress Zoe. mosaic detail from Hagia Sophia, 1028-1042 (Dmitri
Kessel): Empress Irene, mosaic detail from Hagia Sophia, ca. 1118-1122 (Dmitri Kessel).
81 Crowning of David, manuscript illumination from the Paris Psalter, Ms grec. 139.
folio 6 verso, early 10th c. Bibliotheque Nationale. Paris 83 Imperial cavalry, detail of
manuscript illumination from the Chronicle of John Scylitzes. Matritensis graecus. Vitr.
26-2. folio 54 verso. 14th c. Biblioteca Nacional. Madrid (Augusto Meneses) 84
Cathedral Treasury of Troyes. France
Mounted hunter, detail from ivory casket. 11th
(Eddy Van der Veen) Drawings by David Klein. 85 St. Demetrios. steatite relief. 12th
c. Courtesy Marquis Hubert de Ganay. Paris (Sabine Weiss from Rapho Guillumette)
Drawings by David Klein 86 Drawings by David Klein. 87 Manuscript illuminations
from the Book of Machines of War of Heron of Byzantium. Vatican Codex Grec. 1605
[folio 8 verso folio 9 verso: folio 20 recto folio 40 recto], mid-llth c. Vatican Library.

Rome. 88. 89 Manuscript illumination from the Book of Machines of War of Heron of
Vatican Library.
Byzantium. Vatican Codex Grec. 1605. folio 36 recto, mid-llth
Rome: Drawing by David Klein based on a model in The Naval Museum, Piraeus, Greece.
illumination
from
the Liber insuConstantinople.
Florentine
manuscript
Map
of
90-91
larum archipelafi of Cristoforo Buondelmonti. Ms. Cotton Vespasian A XIII. folio 36 verso, ca. 1422. Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum, London: Drawing by Da-

vid Klein

CHATTEi 5: 92 Emperor Nicephoras Botaniates between St. John Chrysostom and the
Archangel Michael, manuscript illumination from the Homilies of St. John Chrysostom.
Ms grec. Coislin 79. folio 2 verso, ca. 1078. Bibliotheque Nationale. Paris. 95 Maitreya
Buddha. Chinese bronze gilt statue. 477. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York,
Kennedy Fund, 1926 99 St Simeon Stylites. manuscript illumination from the Menolo$ion of Basil II, Vatican Ms Grec. 1613, page 2, 979-984, Vatican Library. Rome (Dmitri Kessel) 101, 104-109 Mosaics from the Church of Hosios Loukas, Phocis, Greece, midlllh c. (Erich Lessing from Magnum). 102. 103 Floor plan and elevation by Lowell Hess
after R. W. Schultz and S. H Barnsley, The Monastery of St. Luke of Sliris in Phocis,
London, Macmillan & Co. 110, 111 Pantocrator, mosaic detail from the dome of the
Church of the Virgin, Daphni, Greece, late 11th c. (Erich Lessing from Magnum).

CHAmi
ican
lace

6: 112 Canticle of Moses, manuscript illumination from the Septuagint, VatCodex Grec. 752, folio 449 verso, 11th c, Vatican Library. Rome 115Gold neckfrom the Cyprus Treasure, 6th-7th c. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

(Roger

Wood

Studio). Detail of ivory triptych, 10th c

Museo

Cristiano Vaticano,

Rome

(Emmett Bright)- Detail of the Pala d'Oro, cloisonne enamel plaque, 12th c, Duomo di San
Marco. Venice. Italy (Emmett Bright). Detail of fresco by Eutychius and Michael, from the
Church of St Clement. Ohrid. Yugoslavia, ca 1205 (Sonja Bullaty and Angelo Lomeo) 151
-Detail of mosaic from the Church of the Virgin, Daphni, Greece, late 11th c (Eric Schaal)
Portable icon, mosaic of miniature tesserae set in wax. from the Church of St. Mary Pammakaristos, Istanbul. 12th c. Collection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Ara Guler) Detail of fresco in the Pareccleseion of the Church of St Savior in
Chora, Istanbul, ca 1303 (Ara Guler) 152. 153 Barberini Ivory, ivory lelief, early 6th c,
Mus^edu Louvre, Paris (Giraudon, Paris). Harbaville Triptych, ivory relief, late 10th c,
Mus^edu Louvre, Paris (Service Photographique de la Reunion des Musses Nalionaux).
154 David Composing the Psalms, manuscript illumination from the Paris Psalter, Ms.
grec. 139, folio 1 verso, early 10th c, Bibliotheque Nationale. Paris 155 Christ Teaching,
manuscript illumination from the Menologion of Basil II. Vatican Codex Grec 1613. page
1. 979-984, Vatican Library, Rome (Dmitri Kessel) St
Eumenius, manuscript illumination from the Menologion of Basil II, Vatican Codex Grec. 1613, page 47. 979-984. Vatican
Library, Rome (Dmitri Kessel). 156. 157- Apse and Semi-dome, fresco by Eutychius and
Michael, from the Church of St Clement. Ohrid, Yugoslavia, ca 1295 (Sonja Bullaty and
Angelo Lomeo). 158 David Presented to Saul, silver plate from the Cyprus Treasure,
early 7th c. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York. Gift of J Pierponi Morgan.
1917 The Annunciation, silk twill, 7th-8lh c, Vatican Library, Rome (Dmitri Kessel)
159 Outer container for reliquary of the True Cross, enameled gold inlaid with (ewels,
ca. 955-960, Cathedral Treasury of Limburg on the Lahn. Germany (Hirmer-Fotoarchiv
Mijnchen).

CHAmR

8: 160 Siege of Constantinople, manuscript


illumination from the Voyage
d'Outremer of Berlrandon de la Brocquiere. Ms. fran. 9087, folio 207 verso, 1455, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. 169 Sultan Mehmel II, oil painting by Gentile Bellini of Venice,
1480, The National Gallery, London, Reproduced by courtesy of the Trustees (Culver
Pictures). 171 Monastery of St John the Evangelist. Patmos. Greece (Dmitri Kessel)
172, 173 Monastery of St. Catherine, Mount Sinai, Egypt (Dr Ceorg Cerster from Rapho
Guillumette). 174. 175 Convent of Roussanou. Meteora. Greece (Dmitri Kessel). Mount
Athos, Greece (Dmitri Kessel) Great Lavra, Mount Athos, Greece (Dmitri Kessel) 176Photograph by Dmitri Kessel. 177 Monastery of St John the Evangelist. Patmos. Greece
(Dmitri Kessel). 178. 179 Dionysiou Monastery. Mount Alhos, Greece (Dmitri Kessel).
180. 181- Mount Athos. Greece (John Marmaras from Black Star of London)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The

editors of this

book

are particularly indebted to Peter Charanis. Voorhees Professor of

New

Ronald E
Malmstrom. Evangelos Savvopoulos, Minister to the Prime Minister's Office, Athens, John
Kondis, General Dirermr of Arrharoloftv Athens: Manolis Chalzidakis, Director of Byzan''
Curator of Byzantine Antiquities. Athens.
tine and Ben <
ih. Byzantine Museum. Athens. Paul MyStella Papadj*
.'orge Cavounides. Director General of the
lofus. Nation.!
PreM Division of tfte Prime Miniticf > Office. Athens. Nicolas Linardatot. Director. Foreign
PreM Division. Athens. Francis R Wallon. E>ireclor. Gennadeion Library. Athens. Harry
Hkmides. Athens College. Athens. Simon Karas. Director of Ethnic Music of the Creek
Radio. Vatican Library. Rome Tullia (.asparrini Leporace. Director. Gian Albino Ravalli
Modoni. Mario (avaretio Biblioteta Marciana. Venice. Giuseppe Tamburniw. Abba/ia di
Praglia. Padua. Ferdinando Rodrique/. Biblioteca Universilaria, Bologna, Irma MeroUe-Tondi,
Director, Biblioteca Medirea-Laurenziana, Florence, Hirmer VerUg. Munich, Paul Gichtel,
History. Rutgers.

The

Slate University.

Jersey, Josepha Weilzmann-Fiedler,

'

BayerischeStaatsbibliolhek,Handschriften-Abteilung, Munich, Bildarchiv Foto Marburg. Ru-

Museum, Vienna, Paul Lemerle, L'Institut d'Hisloire et Civilization Byzantines, Pans, Fran^oise Le Monnier, Conservaleur du D^partement de la Pholographie.Biblioth^qurNationale. Paris. Department of British and Mediaeval Antiquities. Brit-

dolf Noll, Kunslhistorisches

Museum. London. Manuscript Department. British Museum. London. Department of


Western Manuscripts. The Bodleian Library. Oxford. Col John R Elting. US Army. Fred
Anderegg, Director of Photographic Services. University of Michigan. Ben Lieberman.
Communications Consultant. New York, F E Peters, Department of Classics, New York
University, Alexander Dunkel, Instructor of Russian Language and Literature. New York
University. Edward Roesner. New York University, Kenneth Levy, Woolworth Center of
Musical Studies. Princeton University, the Rev Leonidas C Conlos. Dean, and the Rev
Demetrios ( onstantelos of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School. Brooklme.
Massachusetts, the Rev John Mahera*, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North aiul South
America, New York
ish

187

INDEX
*

This symbol

front of a page

in

number

indicates a

photograph or painting of the subject mentioned.

Ascetics, 26-27, 37, 99, 100

MAPS
All

Asia Minor (Anatolia): holy grottoes,


'26-27; maps 9, 42, 164; monasticism

VOLUME

IN THIS

in,

maps by David Greenspan

The Byzantine World

8-9

Trade Routes

32-33

Constantinople

42-43

Empire of Justinian

27; under Zenobia's rule, 14. See

also Anatolia

57

Barbarian Invasions, 6th-10th Centuries

59

Empire of Basil

61

II

Collapse of the Empire

164

Acropolis,

map

Bucellarion,

Athena, goddess, 175; Palladium statue

Buda,

of, in Constantinople, 19, 33


Athens: Basil II in, 62; maps 9, 61;
university of, 58, 136
Athos, Mount: map 9; monasteries, 100,
113, 170, '174-176, '178-181
Atlantic Ocean, mops 8, 32
Atlas Mountains, map 8
Atropoleum, forum, Constantinople, 45

Buddha, '95
Buddhism, 95

38, 77, 79;

of landed aristocracy, 162; limited

61;

maps

Adulis, map 32
Aegaion Pelagos,

8, 57, 61,

61

Aeneas, 33

map

Aetius, Cistern of,

maps

8-9, 32,

43

59

Agriculture, 33, *122-123; Anatolia, 31,


118; tools, 123

map

Alans,

57

King of Visigoths, 11
Albania, Bulgarian conquest of, 62
Aleppo: Byzantine recapture of, 61, 62,
76; maps 9, 32, 61
Alexander the Great, 11
Alexandria, Egypt, 11, 97; center of

Alaric,

learning, 136;

maps

9, 32, 57, 59; a

metropolitanate, 96; monasticism

in,

100; Neoplatonism in, 16; trade center,

map 32

Alexius

Comnenus, Emperor,

82, 137,

161, 162,177

Alexius II, Emperor, death of, table 76


Alexius IV, Emperor, death of, table 76
Alexius V Ducas Mourtzouphlos, Emperor, 165; blinding of, table 76

Alps,

map

ruler,

163

map

8; trade,

36

Amastrianum, map 43
Anastasius I, Emperor, 55

ucts, 31; landed aristocracy of, 118;


9, 42,

164;

Moslems

in, 60;

Turkish expansion in, 163-164, 166.


See also Asia Minor
Anatolikon,

map

Andronicus

61

Comnenus, Emperor, death

of, 48, table 7b, 77


Andronicus II, Emperor, 167
Andronicus IV, Emperor, table 76
Anemas, Tower of, map 43
Anglo-Saxons, in Varangian Guard, 78-79
Angora, maps 32, 164
Ani, maps 9, 61, 164
Ankara, battle of, 167
Anna, Princess (sister of Basil II), 61
Anna Comnena, 137
Antae, location of, map 57
Anthemius of Tralles, 36

188

of Valens,

by

Church, 98; Russian, 170


Avars, invasions by, 59; maps 57, 59

165

map

map

ecclesiastical (see

Church

architecture);

Greek influence, 138; materials,


139, 140;

Roman

35, 51,

influence, 34, 43, 138;

secular, '44-45, *52-53, 138

Arianism, 97
Aristocracy, 135. See

Upper

classes

Armenia: church architecture, 139-140;


9,

61

peasant soldiers, 62, 82;


power, late Empire, 161;

Baghdad, Arab caUphate of, 163; map 32


Baldwin of Flanders, Latin Emperor, 166
Balearic Islands, 58; maps 8, 57, 59
Balkans: Bulgars in, 60, 61, 62; Byzantine

137;
Ballet,

map

fusion of styles (6th Century), 142;


hieratic style, 143, 144, '148-149,

'152-153, '155, 156; iconoclast


destructions of, 142-143: iconographic,
142-144; Late period, 138, 144, '149;

Middle period, 138, 143-144, '148-149;


minor, '158-159; new naturalism, 144,
'149, '156-157; portraiture, rules of,
'150-151; preservation of Greco-

Roman,

11-12, 22, *23, 135; religious

(see Religious art); Renaissance, 11-12,

144, 156; secular, 141, '142, 144, '152,

Baltic Sea,

map

Banquets: court, 78; rural, '130-131


Baphaeum, battle of, 166

Baptism of Christ, depictions of, '106,


143
Barbarian invasions, 11, 56. 59
Barberini ivory plaque, 142, *152
Bardas, Caesar, '67, *68
Bari,

maps

8,

61

Emperor, 61, '63; account of his


by Scylitzes, 63, '64-73
Basil II Bulgaroctonus, Emperor, 61-62
Basilicas, 138,139-140
Basilicus, Emperor, death of, table 76
Basil

I,

Basiliskianos, '69

map 32

Bede, the Venerable, 118


Beirut: center of learning, 136; maps 9, 57
Belgrade, map 9; Turkish attack on, 167
Belisarius, 38, 58

Bema

(sanctuary), church of Hosios


Loukas, 102, '108-109
Bengal, Bay of, map 33
Benjamin of Tudela, quoted, 47
Berbers, map 57
Bezant, coin, '117, 118. See also Nomisma
Bible, 136
Bishops, in

Church organization, 95-96,

100
Blachernae, 34, 52

Blachernae Palace, 51; map 43


Black Death of 1347, 166
Black Sea, 35, 55, 62, 166; maps 9, 32, 42,
57, 59,61, 164; trade, 31
Blinding, punishment by, '70, 73; of
Bulgar prisoners-of-war, 62; of

emperors, 13, 60, table 7b

'158; style comparisons, '148-149,

Blues, faction, 114

'152-153. See also Architecture;


Frescoes; Ivory carvings; Manuscript

Bohemund, Norman leader, 165


Bokhara, map 32
Book of Psalms (Paris), '154, 155
The Book of the Prefect," 116-117
Bosporus, 31, 33; map 42-43

illuminations; Mosaics
Artillery: Byzantine, '86;

Turkish, 167

Ottoman

Building code, Constantinople, 46,

117-118
Bulgaria, church architecture, 22,

139-140;

map

61

Bulgar(ian)s, 60; conversion to Christianity, '28, 163; invasions of, map 59;

victory of Basil II over, 61, 62


Bureaucracy, 58, 80-81; demes (factions),
114; and iconoclasm, 97; late Roman

Empire, 14
Burgundians,

map 57

Business: government monopolies, 52,


117; government regulation of, 47,
116-117; markets, Constantinople, 45, *47
Buttress, architectural element, 140

99, 100; vision of life, 98-99


Byzantine empire. See Empire
Byzantium, town, 18, 31, 96. See also
Constantinople
Byzas, 31

Caesarea, maps 9, 57, 59, 61, 164; a


metropohtanate, 96

164

114

Baths, public and private, 35, 37, 114, 138


Battering rams, 86, '87

141, 158; early Christian (catacomb),


141, *150; Early period, 138, 142, *148;

32

'156-157, 170; in Byzantine Empire,

Basra,

144; Carolingian,
12; classical naturalism, 141, *142, 144,
*148, *152; Constantinople as center of,

9,

61

55, 60, 61, 62, 166; historical source on,

political

in, 22,

map

map

cultural heritage in, 12, 22, 145,

tion, 81-82;

wages, 84. See also Warfare; Weapons


Army, Ottoman Turkish, 167-168
Art, 135, 136-144, 145-159; abstract
formalism, 141-142, 143, 144, *148-149;

maps

113-114, 118; role of religion, 80, 98,

life,

Armeniakon, map 61
Armor, 78, 82, *84-85
Army, Byzantine, 78-79, 81-82, 83,
*84-87; and iconoclasm, 97; organiza-

of, 166;

Byzantine character and values, 13,

43

Arabian Sea, map 33


Arabs: caliphate of Baghdad, 163;
expansion of, 59-60; maps 57, 59. See
also Saracens
Aral Sea, map 32
Arcadius, Forum of, map 42
Arch, architectural use of, 40, *44-45,
*102-103, *106, *139, 140
Architecture, 138-140; blending of
Eastern and Western styles, 40, 138;

Byzantine role

Anatolia (Asia Minor), 11, 18, 60, 166;


architecture, 138, 139, 140; Byzantine
kingdom of Nicaea, 166; farm prod-

maps

in,

professional, 82, *84-8S; size, 81;

Alphabet: Cyrillic, 12-13, 29; Greek,


12-13
Amalfi,

Aqueduct

maps

Alp Arslan, Seljuk

Normans

Aqueducts, 35, 36, 43, 138

164

61

9, 42,

in, 61;

*108, 143, *150, 151, '152-153, *159

Arabia,

map

Aegean Sea, maps

Africa,

Moslems

9, 32, 59,

Apollo, Mithraistic worship of, 16


Apostles, depictions of, 102, '104-105,

43

Adrianople: battle of, 56; maps 9, 57, 61,


164; Ottoman capital, 166, 168
Adriatic Sea,

maps

Ottoman capture

164

Augustus, Emperor (Octavian), 13


Aurelian, Emperor, 14
Autocracy, 82, 170; diminished by power

metropolitanate, 96;

Bruges,

Aspar, Cistern of, map 43


Assyrian civilization, 11

map 43

Aachen, Cathedral of, 12


Abed-nego, *28-29, 146
Abydos, map 61

map 42
map 32

Bovi, Forum,

Brusa:

Attila, King of Huns, 11


Augustaeum, Constantinople,

Antioch: center of learning, 136;


Byzantines in, 61, 52, 76, 165; a

Boucoleon, emperors harbor, 39, *52;


map 42-43

Caiques, 36, 113

map 32
map 33
Calydonian boar, 34, 48
Cappadocia: holy grottoes

Cairo,

Caliana,

maps

9,

in,

'26-27;

61; rock-cut churches, 140

art, 12
Carpathian Mtns., map 9
Carpet manufacture, 118
Cartagena, maps 8, 57

Carolingian

Carthage,

maps

8, 57,

59

Casia, poetess, 79, 138

Caspian Sea, maps


Castration, 82

Catacomb

art,

9,

32

141, '150

Caucasus Mtns., map 9


Cavallini, Pietro, 144

Cavalry, 82, '83-84, 85


Cefalu, Sicily, Cathedral of, 144;
Cephalonia, map 61
Ceremoniis, De, 77
Cesarini. Cardinal Julian, 167
Ceylon, trade with, 31, 32

map

Chain, map 43
Chalcedon, 31; map 9
Chalcedon, Council of (451), 56, 58, 96, 97

map 61
Chariot races, in Hippodrome, 48, 114-115
Chaldia,

Charlemagne, 12, 60, 162


Charnel House, Mount Athos, '180-181
Charsianon, map 61
Cherson, maps 9, 32. 57, 61
Children, legal provisions for, 21, 116,
117
China: Buddhism, 95; trade with, 31, 32
Chios, map 9
Christ. See Jesus Christ
Christ Akataleptos, Monastery of, map 43

and Buddhism,
compared, 95; compulsory for citizens,
37 94, 99; Constantine's conversion to,
18. 55, 56, 75, 93; dogma, 56, 58, 97-98,

Christianity, 12, 13, 19;

162; early history of, 15, 16-18, 97;

East-West alienation, 60, 161, 162-163;


East-West reconciliation attempts, 167;

E*st-VSr>I Mhir.m

t>l

le3

lc>4.

41.'

kgaliijlion and prrd of. IS. 5S-54.


9J; organiialion ot Church. 95-*6:
persecution of. 15. *17: sllr religion.
56. 58. *92. 94-95. 97: stimulus to arts,

Ul

I45(srf dlioRehgiousart;
Religious lilerjturr) suppression
under lulian the Aposute 55 See *Uo
Church and state. Conversion. Councils.
Church. Eastern Church. Missionary
work. Monasticism. Papacy. Relics,
135.

Roman Catholic Church


Christmas, date of. lo
Chrysotriclinos. in Imperial Palace. J8
Church Set Christianity. Eastern
Church. Roman Catholic Church
Church and state. 58. 93-100; administrative structure. 95-9e. conflicts. 95.

98. separation

demanded by

early

doctrine. 94. state s involvement in


dogma. *74. 97-98. unifying theory of

Eusebius, 94-95 See also Theocracy


Church architecture. 12. '22. 40. 50-51.

"ur

<- 43 50-51. 96. 102. 139,

140. collection of artifacts

and

relics in.

24-25 32, 34 '35 96. Constantine s


choice of, IS, cosmopolitan atmosphere,
37, 43, as cultural center, 136. 141.

daily life in, 36-37, 114. entertainment

MS. fall of
Moslem siege of

^39. ^48-49. 114

in. 38,

(1453). 91. 170:

first

(673-677), 60, forums, 34. 35. map 4243, '45, harbor, 33, 36, ^41. map 42-

mapi

43. housing, 35, 36, '46,

9. 57.

61. 164. monasteries in, 27. 100. origin


of, 31, palaces. 35. 37. 38-39.

map

43,

52-53, 77: population, 32. 37. 43, l66;

recapture by Byzantines (1261), 166.

Rome,

replica of

and

fire

33, 34. 43. 48. riots

of (532). 35-36. 48. 57; Russian

attacks on (860. 941), 34, 88; sack of.

by Crusaders (1204).

Moslem

165-166.

115. 136, 144.

sieges. eO. see of. 96:

strategic location. 31. 32.


streets

and

traffic.

map

center. 31.

map

42-43;

36. 46. 117; as trade

32, 36, 42. 61, 118:

135. 138 140. basic elements 138;


Byzantine influences abroad. 12. *22-23,

Turkish siege

40; centralized plan. 138; cross-in-

map 42-43, ^90-91. water supply and


sewers. 35, 36-37, 43

square type. 140, dome. *50-51.


102-103. 138, '139. 140; domed-cross
type. 139. 140 Early period. 138-140;
Late period. 138 140. Middle period.
138. 140. rock-cut churches, 140,
schematic plans, ^102-103, ^139; stylistic roots of, 138. vaulting. 138. 139
Churches in Constantinople. ^22, 34, 35.
37. 39-40. map 42-43 50-51. 96, 102,
139, 140, decoration of, '101. schematic
plan. 102-103. ^104-111. 140. 141. 142.
143-144. ^145-151. ^156-157
Cibraeots.

map

61

Circus Maximus. Rome. 48


Circuses. 13.48. 114

map

42-43
Citizenship requirements. 37, 94, 99
Civil aristocracy. 61 80, 161
Cisterns, 35, 36, 43. 138;

Civil law, 21
Civil service, 80-81, eunuchs
Clement of Alexandria, 16

in,

82

Clergy, 99; Vi. iconoclasts. 97. and

Rome,

in 1453, 91, ^160, 167-

170; university of, 136: walls of, 35,

Constantinople, Council of (381). 96. 97


Constantinople, Latin Empire of. 166
Constantius. Co-Emperor (father of Constantine). 17
Contoscalion: Gate of. map 42; Harbor of.
map 42

Corfu: map 8: Norman seizure of. 165


Corinth: map 32, Norman capture of.
165: silk industry. 118
Corpus of Justinian. 20-21, 58. 117

maps

Corsica. 58.

8,

57

Cosmetics, 116
Councils, Church, 56, '74, 97, 98; of

Chalcedon (451), 56, 58. 96, 97; of


Clermont (1095), 164, of Constantinople (381). 96. 97; of Ephesus (431). 97;
of Lyons (1274). 167; of Nicaea (325.
787). 97

Court ceremonial, 15, 52, 75, 77-78, 79

Clothing. 37, of demes (factions). 114;


emperors 77. lower classes. 115. '119.

Craft guilds. 47. 116-117


Crafts. 37, ^39. ^47. 158-159; imperial

women. 115-

122. upper classes. 115;

116

King of Franks. 11
Coins: image of Christ on, 24. 80; image

Clovis.
of

emperors on. 95. '\\7 nomisma


:

(bezant). ^117, 118

Cologne,
Colonea,

map 8
map 61

Commerce See Business: Trade


Comnenus dynasty, 51. 161-162
Confucianism. 95

Conrad III. King of Germany, 165


Constans II. Emperor, death, table 76
Constantine the Great, Emperor, 17-18,
30, 81. 94. 136. and Constantinople,
18. 19, 31. 32, 34, 35, 38, 55. 96. conversion to Christianity of. 18. 55. 56.
75, 93, image
18,

on

coins, 95; vision of.

*19 93 mentioned, 76, 95. 118. 140

Constantine.

Forum

of. 34, 35. '45. 79;

rriiip 43 Wall of map 42-43


Constantine-Apollo. statue of. 35

Constantine 111. Emperor, death, (able 76


Constantine V. Emperor, 60
Constantine VI. Emperor, 60. blinding of.
60. fable 76
Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, Emperor, 61, 77, 88, 144, death of, table
76; image on coin. ^117. obelisk of. 38,
palace of, '53
C unst jntine VIII.

Emperor. 79

C ontiantine XI, PaUcoiogus. Emperor,


76. 168-170
Constantinople. 19, 91-40, *4I, map 4243. *44-53. administration. 117; Arab
and Persian attack on map 59. baths,

becomes capital. IS. 31. 33.


35. BUck Oeath (1347). 166, building
cod*, 46. 1 17-118, business and crafts.
35. 37. 114.

37, 45. '47. capital of


pire. 169.

Ottoman em

churches. ^22. 34. 35. 37. 39

lonial signihianir ol,

Dardanelles, 31,

Dark Ages,

map

170. interruption

179
Dionysus, god, 179
Diplomacy, 82, 83
Disease, 37, 46, 166
Divorce. 117
Dogma, orthodox, 56. 97-98, f!lio4ue dispute, 162; and iconoclasm, 97-98: and
Monophysilism. 58
Dome, in Byzantine architecture, 40, SO51. ^102-103, lOe. 138. 139. 140,
pendentive vs. squinch device, '139

Domed-cross type of church, 139,

monopolies, 52, 117


Crete: Byzantine reconquest of (961), 61,
76;

maps

9, 61;

Minoan

civilization, 11

Crimea, map 9
Criminal law, 21, 117
Croatian trade, 36
Cross-in-square type of church, 140
Crown of Thorns. ^25. 34
Crucifixion. ^104
Crusades. 23. 62. 164; First. 164-165,
Second, 165; Third. 165. Fourth, diversion to Constantinople. 165. 167. 170;
Fifth. 167
Ctesiphon, map 9
Cuhicularii, 77
Currency: late Roman Empire, 14, stability of Byzantine. 117, 118
Cyprus: Byzantine reconquest of, 61,

maps

9,

61

map

Cyrene,

Duccio di Buoninsegna, 144


Dyrrachium, maps 8, 61

under lustinian 57 58. 59. restora


under Heraclius. 59 60, resurgence
under Macedonian dynasty, 61-62,
symbol of, lO, ^120 121. 170. ^171;
tiun

territorial

extension of, 55,

map

57, 58,

60, 62. 166. 167. theocratic character of,


75. SO. SI

Western European

atli

tudes toward, time of Crusades.


165

64

Empresses, ^78, 79, 116


Enamel art, ISO. 158
Engineering. 12. 138. armaments. 86-89
England, map 8
Enterlainmenl. 114-115. court, 78; f-iippodrome, 38. '39. ^48-49, 114-115;
rural, '130 131
Eparch, office of. 117
Ephesus: architecture, 138, maps 9, 57,
61. a melropolitanate, 96
Ephesus, Council of (431), 97
Epic poetry, 136-137

kingdom

of, 166,

map

Eudoxia Ingerina, Empress,


Eunuchs, 82
Euphrates, 11, 62,
Europe, map 42

maps

't>i.

72

9. 32. 57. 61,

164

Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, 94


Eustalhius Cymineanus, 82
Eagle, Byzantine Imperial, lO, ^120-121.

Eve, freeing of soul of. *105

*171: adopted by Czarist Russia, 170


Easter holiday celebrations, ^124-127

Executions, 21, 38, 48, 52, 117, of emperors, 48, table 76

Eastern Church: Byzantine legacy, 28,


170; dogma, 56, 97-98, 162; and iconoclasm, 97-98, 142-143: liturgy, 99, 109;
and Monophysitism, 58; philanthropy,
37,

popular loyalty

16;

to,

98, 167;

and Rome, growing alienation, 60, 161,


162-163; and Rome, reconciliation attempts, 167; and Rome, schism, 62,
163, 164 See also Church and state;
Missionary work; Monasticism
Eastern Europe. See Slavic world
Economy: Byzantine wealth, 36, 61

ment regulation

de-

116-117, late

of, 47,

Roman

Empire, 14, monetary stability,


117. 118; taxation. 117. 123, 162. See
also Business,

Trade

Ecumenical councils, 97. See also Councils,

Church

Ferrara,

map

maps

9.

61

mids, 62; Islam

monasticism

in,

in, 27,

civili-

under

zation, 11, basilicas, 139;

Fati-

58-59, 60. map 9.


100, '172-173, 174,

Monophysitism

in, 58, Persian conquest of. 58-59. regained by Byzanti-

59, trade with, 31.

map

map

32

reli-

gious, ^124-127, 131, rural banquet,

130-131
Fez,

map 32

Fishing, 33, 121

map 8
Food, 115, 121,^124-125
Florence,

Fortifications: border, 14, 58, Constanti-

map

42-43. ^90-91

map

^45, 79,

43

Forum Tauri, map 43


Forum of Theodosius, 45. map 43
Franks: seizure of Gaul by. 56, map
warfare against, 85
Frederick Barbarossa, Holy
peror, 165

57;

Roman Em-

Frescoes, ^28-29, 100, 135, 141, 142, 143.

32

map

42

Emperor: audiences with, 77, ceremonial,


15, 52, 75, 77-79; coronation of, 24, 38,

deification of

Festivals: in Constantinople, 37 (see also

nople, 35.

Education, 135-136
Egypt: Alexander in, 11, ancient,

um.

Family law, 21, 116, 117


Fatimid dynasty of Egypt, 62

Forum Bovi. map 42


Forum of Arcadius. map 42
Forum of Constantine, 34, 35.

Ecumenical patriarch, 96
Edessa, 165:

Factions (demes;, 114-115

Processions), court banquets, 78,

cline of, 161, 162, 163, 166: govern-

Eleutherius. hiarbor of,

Cyrillic alphabet, 12-13. 29

num

Episcopal synod, 96
Ethiopia, trade with, 32
Eudoxia, Empress, ^129

Dromonds, 36

Elbe River,

of

treatment, II. 1213. under Palaeologus dynasty. 166170. restoration uf Imperium Kuma-

lect of. in historical

zantine

map 9

River,

13. 19. 28.

2.

Epirus: Bulgarian conquest of, 62: By-

140

Don

by Latin Lmpiir

Constantinople (1204 1261). 166. neg-

56

11, 12,

David, King, depictions of, *81, *I05,


154, 155 silver plates, 142, *158
Decius, Emperor. 17
Delphic Oral le. 31
Demarch, 114
Demes (factions). 114-115
Demosthenes. 136
Oigenes Akrilet. epic poem. 136-137
Dioceses in Church, 95-96, Roman
provinces grouped in, 95
Diocletian, Emperor, 14-15, 17, 18, 75,
95
Dionysiou monastery, Mt Athos, 178-

Conversion to Christianity: of Bulgars.


28. 163. Cyril's attempt in Moravia,
28, 163 of Russians, 19, 28, 61, 170
Cordoba, maps 8, 32. 57

98
Clermont, Council of (1095). 164

map 57

Data,

Roman,

144, 145. ISO-lSl. 156-157


Fulk of Chartres, quoted. 36

Furniture. 36

15, 17, 75, 94,

divinity status modified in Byzantium,

75, 78, 80, 94-95, doctrine of divine

rights of, 14, 24, 76, 94-95, dress, 77,

map 33

Daibul.

and government hierarchy, 80-81,

Dalmatia: conquered by Justinian, maps


57,61, trade. 36
Dalmatians, in Byzantine army. 78
Damascus Great Mosque, mosaics. 141,

maps

Dance, lU,
Dandolo. Enrico 165
Daniel

iV.

DanuK
pire

inr)

of

10<J

Byzantine Em-

nanic tribes on, 18,

mapt

9. 32,

57,61, 164

Danzig, map 32
Daphni, Church of the Virgin. '110-111.

map

map

43, *52-S3, 77,

and the people.

48. 114, in religious disputes, 58, *74,

95, 97-98, succession, 75.

tombs

of. 34,

table 76. 77
Empire, Byzantine: administration, BO-

<>n

I'

39,

80, violent ends of, 13, 48, 60, ^69.

61
'130-13]

9, 32. 59,

'

96,
117; marriages of, 79; palaces of, 38-

SI,

82

(see also

Church

(see

Government), and

Church and

state), citizen

ship requirements. 37. 94, 99, consolidation under Syrian dynasty, 60. decline of. 161-163, emergence of, 15, 5556, fall of. 91. 170.

growth of Turkish

threat to. 161, 163-164, 166-167. his-

Galala;

Wall

map 43, Tower


map 43

of, ^41,

map

43,

of,

Gallienus, Emperor, 17
Gallipoli,

map

164

Games, 114
Gardens, 114, imperial, 39
Gates, map: of the Blachernae, 43; of
Charisius. 43. Contoscalion. 42, of the

Diungarii. 43. uf Lugenius. 43. Golden.


42. Iron, 42.

2nd Military, 42 3rd

Military, 42 4th Military. 42, 5lh


Military, 43,

Old Golden,

42: of the

Pege, 42, Phanar, 43, Plaleia. 43.

Psamathia. 42. of Rhegium. 42, of St

189

Aemilianus, 42; of St. Barbara, 43; of


John de Cornibus, 43; of St. Romanus,
43; of Theodosia, 43; of Xylokerkos, 43

Holy Apostles, Church of

Constan43

John

Gaul, 14; seizure by Franks, 56, 58


Genoa: maps 8, 32; role in re-establishment

Holy Spirit: dove symbol of, *106; filioque dispute, 162


Homer, 18, 19, 55: study of, 136
Hosios Loukas, monastery church, 101,

John

Empire (1261), 166; trade,


and Turkish siege of Constantinople, 168, 169-170
Gepids, location of, map 57
Germanic tribes: on Danube, 18; invasions of Byzantium by, 56, map 59; invasions of Western Roman Empire by,
of Byzantine

map

59; Justinian's victories over,

map

map

*102-103; mosaics in, *101, 102, *104109, 110, 143, *146-147

36, 162, 166;

56, 59,

the,

tinople. *22, 34, 96, 140;

St.

Hospitals, 37, 41, 57, 116


Housing: in Constantinople, 35, 36, *46;
rural,

121

Hugh, Abbot
Huns, 56, 90

of Cluny, 164

Hunting, 114, 121


Hymns, 137, 138

57, 58
Ceronticum Quodam, *134
Ghazis (Turk warriors), 163-164
Gibbon, Edward, 113

II

Comnenus, Emperor,

Macedonia, Bulgarian conquest

80, 116,

162, 165

John
John
John
John

Giustiniani Longo, Giovanni, 168, 169-

64;

Emperor, blinding of, table 7b


V, Emperor, 166, 167
VI Cantacuzene, Emperor, *74, 137
VII, Emperor, blinding of, table
IV,

7b

170

map

Justin

I,

Justin

II,

142, 144, 172, 173; characterization of,


56;

of, 52, 117; Justinian's

Roman

reform, 58; late

Empire, 14; municipal, 117;

provincial, 14, 59, 60, 81;

theme sys-

tem, 59, 60, 81


Great Lavra, The, monastery, *174-175
Greece: Byzantine architecture in, 139,
140; independence of (1821), 170; map
8-9; monasticism in, 27, *171, *174181; surviving Byzantine influences in,
113, *119-133, 170

Greece, ancient, 11; preservation of cultural heritage of, 11-12, 19, 22, 135136; as source of Byzantine culture,
94,

H2, 135-136, 138

Russian Prince, 88
Iliad (Homer), 136
Illuminations. See Manuscript illuminaIgor,

38
India: ancient civilization, 11;

map

95;

Kaffa,

Industry, 117, 118. See also Crafts

Khorezm, 163

map

Empress (780-802), 60, 97


Empress (wife of John II Comne-

Irene,

nus), *78, 80

Irene Ducas, Empress, 19

II,

Emperor, blinding

Isaac of

nean, 59, 60; rejection of icons by, 97;

back by Byzantium (9606),


See also Arabs; Moslems; Turks
rolled

37, 38, 39-40, *41,

map

Cru-

saders' desecration of (1204), 165; de-

scription of, 40, 139; 532 destruction

Christian service

in,

169;

39-40, *51, 139

Harbors, 42-43; Boucoleon, map 42-43; of


Contoscalion, map 42; of Eleutherius,
map 42; of Julian, map 42; Phosphorion,
m.ap 43
Headdress, *112, 115, '122

61.

chitecture, *22-23, 40, 140; Byzantine

possessions

in, 22,

maps

61, 164;

Lom-

maritime republics of, 62,


162, 166: Normans in, 62, 162; Ostrogoths in, 56, 58; Renaissance, 11-12
Ivan III, Czar, 170
bards

in, 59;

Ivory carvings, *15, *35, *39, *129, 135,


141, 142, 144, 145, *150; Barberini
plaque, 142, *152; Harbaville triptych,

*152-153; jewelry caskets, *142, 144,

152
Ivory trade, 31, 152

61

Heracica, a metropolitanate, 96;

Heracleonas, Emperor, torture of, table


7b
Heraclian dynasty, 60
Heraclius, Emperor, 59-60, 80, 81
Heresy: Arianism, 97; iconoclasm, 9798, 142-143; Monophysitism, 58; punfor, 21

Hermits, 26-27, 98, '101, 174, 175


Hesiod, 55
Hetairia (imperial guards), 78
Hierarchical order, in church decoration,
Hieratic style of art, 143, 144, *148-149,

152-153, *155, 156


43, 45,

*48-49, 79, 115; chariot racing, 48,


114-115; description of, 38; horses

from, *23
History, writing of, 137

Jaffna,

map

33

170
Jerusalem, 18, 59; Crusaders
Janissaries, 167-168,

in,

165,

maps

9,32,57,59,61
Jesus Christ: depictions of, 102, *104107, *109-ni, 129, 141, 143, 144,
*145, *148-149, 151, '153, '155, '157,

human

'159; divine vs.


97; expected

8, 32, 57,

on coins,

nature

Second Coming

of, 58,

of, 16;

59, 61, 164; portrayed

24, 80; quotations, 26, 94;

rejection of secular authority by, 94;

map

La Brocquiere, Bertrandon de, 116

Landed aristocracy,

62, 118, 137, 161,

162, 166
Language, 135-136:

official, 37,

80

map

164
Latin Empire of Constantinople, 166
Latin language, 80, 135
Latins, capture of Constantinople by
(1204), 115, 165-166
Law: civil, 21; courts, 117; criminal, 21,
117; family, 21, 116, 117; guild system,
Larissa,

116-117; Justinian's recodification of,

20-21,58, 117
Lazians, location of,

map 57

Lecky, William, quoted, 13


Leo I, Emperor, 34

Leo III, Emperor, 60, 97


Leo III, Pope, 60
Leo V, Emperor, 97; death of, table 7b
Leo VI, the Wise, Emperor, 61, *72-73
Leontius, Emperor, death of, table 7b
Licinius, Co-Emperor, 18
Lighthouse, map 43
Literature, 113, 135, 136-138; preserva-

maps

102, 143, 144

relics of, in

34;

maps

8-9, 32, 57, 59,

61, 164; western, re-establishment of


ar-

Nineveh, quoted, 99

162; Byzantine influence on church ar-

35, 37, 38,

trol (960s), 61;

Khotan, map 33
Kiev, Byzantine influence on church
chitecture, 40; maps 9, 32
Kolyva, 131
Konya, 164
Kossovo, battle of, 167; maps 9, 164

Isidore of Miletus, 36

43, 48, *49, *51, 59, 96, 99, 139;

map 32
Mary. See Virgin Mary
Mary Magdalen, 34
Maurice, Emperor, death of, table 7b
Maxentius, Co-Emperor, 18, 93
Maximum, Co-Emperor, 18
Mecca, map 32
Medicine, 37, 116
Marseilles,

Mediterranean: Byzantine naval control


of, 88; eastern, expansion of Islam, 59,
60; eastern, revival of Byzantine con-

Islam: expansion in Eastern Mediterra-

Marriage, '128-129; emperors' selection


of wives, 79; use in diplomacy, 82

Byzantine control (530s), 58


Megara, map 9

Mehmet

II,

Sultan: 167-168, '169; siege

and capture of Constantinople by, 91,


'160, 167-170

map

61

Memphis, map 57

barbarian invasions, 11, 56, 59;


Byzantine expeditions in 12th Century,

Hippodrome,

map

map

I, Emperor, 162
Manuscript illuminations, '22, '92, 100,
'112, 141, 143, 144, 145, '154-155
Manuscript restoration, '134
Manzikert, battle of, 163, 164; maps 9,
164
Marble, use of, 35, 38, 40, 51, 139
Marble Tower, map 43
Marcian, Column of, map 43
Marcus Aurelius, Emperor, 16
Maritsa, map 164
Marmara, Sea of, 18, 31, 33, 35; map
42

Melitene,

Italy:

ishment

of, 121;

of, table

Istanbul, 41

map

map

76

Guadalquivir River, map 8


Guards, imperial, 78-79
Guilds, craft, 47, 116-117
Guiscard, Robert, 162, 165

map

Au-

Khazars, 163

61

Isaac

Hellas,

57; foreign

map 32

Kars,

Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, 51


Gregory VII, Pope, 96, 164
Grottoes, holy, *26-27

of, 36; last

map

Indian Ocean, map 33


Indus River, map 33

Isaac Angelus, Emperor, 48

rebuilt by Justinian,
Hamburg, map 32

55,

frontispiece, *21

Karpathos, island

Greens, faction, 114

Hagia Sophia, 34,

Empire under,

policy of, 57-58, 162; statue of, in

gustaeum, 38
Justinian II, Emperor, death of, table 76
Justinian's Code of Law, 20-21, 58, 117;

Buddhism,

32; trade with, 31, 32, 61,

152

Irene,

official

mestic policies of, 58; extent of Byzan-

tions

Imperial Palace, Constantinople, 24, 37,


38-39, map 43, *52-53; description of,

Ionian Sea,

Greek alphabet, 12-13


Greek fire, 36, *88
Greek language, 135-136; as
language, 37, 80

and Constan-

tinople, 35-36, 38, 39-40, 139, 140; do-

tine

43; Tower,

Manuel

map 42
Golden Horn, harbor of Constantinople,
32, 35, 36, 41, map 43, 78; Turkish

58, 96;

map

Palace,

Mangon, *86

77, 78, 79, 80, 82, 115, 135, 136, 137,

and Church,

Ghazni. 163
33

map

43

Iceland, trade with, 32

Goths, 90. See also Ostrogoths; Visigoths


Government, 80-81, 82; craft monopolies

Palace, Constantinople, 38-39,

Mangana:

Iconium, map 61
Iconoclasm, 97-98, 142-143
Iconographic art, 142-144
Icons, 97, *127, 141, 142-143, 171; veneration of, 97-98
Idolatry,94, 97, 143

(1453), *160, 168-169

Magnaura

Malabar,

Iberia,

fleet in

Magister militum, office of, 80


Magister officii, office of, 81
77

Glass portrait of St. Peter, *150


Golden Gate, Constantinople, *44-45, 79;

61

of, 62,

maps 8-9,61

Macedonian dynasty, 61-62, 161

Mahmud of

John VIII Palaeologus, Emperor, 167


Jotabe, map 32
Judaism: rejection of icons by, 97; in
Roman Empire, 16
Julian, Harbor of, map 42
Julian the Apostate, Emperor, 55
Julianus, Emperor, 13-14

Emperor, 56
Emperor, 25
Justinian I, Emperor, '20, 50, 51, 56-59,

76

Jupiter, 15

Giotto, 144

190

Tzimisces, Emperor, 76-77; death

of, table

Constantinople, '24-25,

True Cross

ruler of

of, 17, 25, 59; true

Byzantium, 80

Jewelry, '115, 116, 158


Jewelry caskets, '142, 144, 152

Mese, Constantinople, 37, 45; map


42-43
Meshach, '28-29, '146
Mesopotamia: basilicas, 139; extent of
Byzantine Empire to, 55, 62; map 61
Messina, map 32
Metal works of art, 141, 142, 144, 145,
'158
Meteora: map 9; monastery of Roussanou, '174-175
Methodius, Patriarch, 98
Metropolitans, in Church organization,
95-96
Michael, Archangel, '28-29, '92
III, Emperor, 28, 65, '66-69, 72,
102; murder of, '69, table 7b
Michael V, Emperor, blinding of, table 76
Michael VIII Palaeologus, Emperor, 166,
167
Middle Ages, 12
Milan: Byzantine influence on church

Michael

architecture, 22;

map

Miletus, architecture, 138

Milion Arch,

map

43

Military processions, '44-45, 78-79, 80

Milvian Bridge, battle

at the, 93, 94;

tion of Greco- Roman, 11-12, 135-136:

Minoan

religious, 59, 137-138; secular,

Missionary work, 19, '28, 58, 163

136-137

Mistra, 113, 168;

civilization, 11

Liturgical music, 100

Mithraism, 16

Liturgy, 99, 109

Mohammed,

Liutprand, Bishop of Cremona, 77


Logothetes, office of, 80

Lombards, in Italy, 59; maps 57, 59


London, map 8
Louis VII, King of France, 165
Lower classes: clothing, 115, *119, '122;
Constantinople, 36, 37, 46; peasant
118, '119-133; women, 116
Luke, hermit (Hosios Loukas), '101
in

life,

Lycandus, map 61
Lycus River, map 43
Lyons, Council of (1274), 167

map

map

Prophet, 60
Monasteries, 19, 99-100, '171-181; in
Constantinople, 27, 100; on Mount
Athos, 100, 113, 170, '174-176, '178181; in Phocis, '101-109; Roussanou,
Meteora, '174-175; St. Catherine's,
Mount Sinai, 142, '172-173; St. John's,
Patmos Island, '177; St. Savior Pantoc-

wealth and power of,


100
Monastic literature, 59
Monasticism, 26-27, 58, 99-100, 174, 177,
180
rator, 80, 116;

Mongol invion. loo. lo7


Monk. 2* 27. 2a. 9<-100 174

Ormuz. map 32
Orontes. battle on the. 62

icono-

Orthodox Christianity.
Eastern Church
Orvphas Nicetas. '71

cIjsi prsculionsoi. ^7-98. Iifrot

pre4<nt-day 171, 'ire-l?" 'ISl

Monophv-ilism 58

Monmir

Sicily Cathedrjl oi. 144,

map

Morjvij St Cvril's convmioo mission.


2*, ItvJ. map 9

US.

12, '30,

oration by. '22-23

147. church dec-

MOO-lll 141 142

Prilep.

28 Sit also

12.

map

57. 58

Ottoman Turks emergence and expansion of. 166-167. siege and capture of
Constantinople by. 91. '160. 167-170

Our Lady
Outdoor

Church

ot Pharos.

of.

102

114

life.

map

version to Christianity, 19. 28, 6l, 170.


trade with 31 map 32-33

61

Pri>oners-of -war. 37. 45. 79

Russians, in Varangian Guard. 78

Processions, state and religious. In Constantinople, '35, 37, 44-45, 52, 78-79.

Ostrogoths, 56, defeat of

MoTt* map 104


Mosaics

Prefeit office of. 117

80 115
Procoplus. 137. quoted. 33. 40 56
P'otespatharos, office of. 80
Provinces, administration of

Roman

late

1*3. 144. '145-151; secular. 38. 39.


147: styles, 148-140. techniques.

Si

61-62.79. l6l

St

Public welfare. 34, 46. 57.


Public works. 117

146-147

Moscow. Byrantine influence on church

Pyrenees,

map

13.

Io7.

first

St Bernard of Clairvaux, l65


St Catherine s Monastery,

Paganism persecution under Constan-

against. 164-105

Con-

stantinople (717). oO Set alio Arabs.


Islam. Turks
Mosul, map 61
Music liturgical. 100. 137 138
Musical instruments. '39, '112. '130. 131
Musical revues. 114
Myrelaion Church, map 42
Mysticism, 13, 19. 26. 9o

map 43
Blachemae. 51:

Constantinople. 35. 37,

map A3,
38-39, map

60:

in.

9.

Naples: Byzantine influence on church


architecture. 22:

maps

8. 32.

57

Narses. 58. 82
Nativity, depictions of. '107. 143

Naval power, ol. 88


Navy. 36, 82, '88-80
Neoplalonism, 15. I6
Nero. Emperor, 17
New Palace. Constantinople. 39
Nicaea, 165; Byzantine kingdom of. leo.
rtuips 9. 6l. 164: Ottoman capture of,
166
Nicaea. Councils of (325 and 787). 97
Nicephorus II Phocas. Emperor, 76. 100:
death of. '76 77
Nicephorus III Botaniatus, Emperor, '92.
118
Nicetas Choniates, quoted, 165
Nicholas II Czar. 170
Nicomedia. 15. 17. 18: maps 9. 164:

Ottoman capture

map

Nicopolis.

61

Diomedes, '65

Domninus, martyred. ^17

map

9.

monasti-

100, Persian conquest of, 59,

Papacy; aid to Constantinople against


Turks, 168: assumption of right of
coronation of emperors, 60, Io2; claim
of divine primacy, 162-163: Justinian
and, 58 See also Rome, Bishop of
Paphlagonia,
Paris, map 8

Patmos

Nishapur. map
Noah adze of, 34

service of, 62, 82: ruined

plan to conquer Byzantium, lo2, lead

Crusade, 164-165, in southern

maps

in

Byzantine Empire, 55,

57, 58; trade with,

map

map

43
architecture. 138

conquest of Syria, Egypt

Roman

Empire, 18: vic-

47. 116-117.

nicir

>ple

OhriJ

47 117

urchofSt

Clen,!,..

Olgj, Grand

..- ...maps9.b\
PnnceM oi Kiev, 61

Olvmpot 119. '120-133. map 9


Omurlag Kmgof Bulgjrt. *64-6S
Opsikion map 6l
Oplimaton mar 6l
Origen

mu-

Roman
in

Empire, 15Byzantine life,

map

57: invasions

map 59

'106 143. '151. '159

'24-25, '35, '92, '99,

art, 22,

St John of Damascus, 138

lohn In Petra, Church of, map 43


John of Sloudlon, map 42
St John s Monastery, Patmos Island,
177
St.
St.

order in church decoration, 102, 143.


144: hieratic, 143, 144, '148-149, icon-

151. See also

Church

architecture

Religious festivals, 131; Easter week,

124-127

Joseph, depiction of. lO?


Luke: depiction of, ^104, relics of, 34
St Marks, Venice, 22, ^23, 140
St. Mary in Blachernae, Church of, map
43
St. Mary Panachrantos. Constantinople.
St

St.

Church

reconciliation attempts, 167: schism,

Empire,

Papacy

11, 12, 19, 55, 94: col-

13-15, 17, establishment of, 13,

map

59; tetrarchy of Diocletian. 14-15

map 33
map 32

Roman

76
Phocas. Emperor. 56. death of. table 76

Romanus

164

In.

156

Population figures. Constantinople. 37,


43, 166
Pprphyroftriiius. imperial till*, 39
tuber. Imperial Palace 39
r
:luralion and trade, 32

man

general, 14

Praetorian prefect, office of. SO

map

of. SI.

43
St, Savior Pantepopte. Church of. map 43
St Savior Panlocrator. monastery. 80.

map

43

Simeon Stylltes, ^99


Simeon the New Theologian, 138

St
St

Simon, depiction of, ^104


Theodore. Church ot. map 43
St, Theodore Tyro. Constantinople.
50
St.

Church of, map 43


Thomas, depiction of. lOS
Timothy, relics of. 34-35

St

134: depictions of ^54. ^92 ^102. '109.


relicsof 34-35, 96

blinding and death of, table 76


Romanus the Melode. 138

Sts Serglus and Bacchus,

Rome, ancient preservation

Salonika, 18:

of cultural

map

59;

138, 141

Rome, Bishop of 96
Rome, city of Belisarius in. 58, Byzantine
Influence on church architecture 22,
mapt 9, 32, 57, 59, Santa Maria Antiqua,
142, superseded

by Consianlinople,

18,33
Roussanou, monastery of Meteora, '174175
Russia attacks on Constantinople by
(860,941). 34.88. By/antium

Church

of,

map

42

at.

depiction of. lOS

Savior in Chora, Church

St.

143. 152-153

as source of Byzantine culture, 94, 135,

Pompeii, murals

42

142, ISO, 151


St. Philip,

163:

heritage of, 11-12, 19-22, 135:

Police. 81. 117

map

St Peter, 96. depictions of, ^104, lOS,

76

Romanus IV Diogenes, Emperor,

Plato. 16

Polo. 144

of,

Saints. 100. accounts of lives of, 113,

of, table

Plague. 14. 46. 166

137

^104

St Paul, 18, 34 depictions of. '108. 151

St.

Emperor, death

of,

St Theodosia,
of.

table 76
III.

'SO

St

law. preservation of. 12. 19, 20-

Philanthropy. Il6
Philippucus. Emperor, blinding of. table

map

43,

the Confessor, 137

Moclus, Cistern

St

116:

map

under Justinian, 57-58,

of,

Si Nicholas, 121

lapse In West, 11, 56, 59; decline of,

21,58
Romania, Byzantine Influences. 12
Romanus I. Emperor. 82
Romanus II. Emperor. 76. '129. death

John Chrysoslom. 78, '92, 137

Si

100, 141-144, '145-153, '155-159.

57: restoration

Pertinax. Emperor, 13

St John ihe Baptist. 35; depictions of,

frescoes, '28-29, 100, 141, 142, 143,

Roman

map 32

Persians: location of,

43

St John, depletions of. '104. '153

80,98,99. 118 Sre a/so Buddhism;


Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Paganism

62, 163, 164 See also

59

Poetry; religious, 137. 138. secular. 136-

eunuchs >2 guild

dominant factor

St Methodius, l63

Persian Gulf,

114;

map

Rhine River, maps 8, 32


Rhodes, maps 9. 61
Rhone River, maps 8. 32
Riga, map 32
Rock-cut churches, 140
Roland, Song of, 136
Roman Catholic Church, relations with
Orthodox Church, 60, 161, 162-164,

'101-109
Phosphorlon Harbor, map 43
Photius Patriarch, quoted. 34
Pisa, trade. 162

Officials. 80-81. of <letne( (factions)

of.

Maximus

Philadelphia,

Deuil, quoted. 36

Church

St James, depiction of. '101

Religion: culls of late


16:

St Irenaeus, 16

96

34, '35,

Matthew, depiction

Peter the Hermit. l64

Odyssey. Homer, 136


Oeicumrne, 96
Office of Barbarians. 83

St Irene.

St Helena. 17

St,

Phocis: map, 9. monastery church

Odon de

Relics, holy. In Constantinople. '24-25,

St,

Pest,

St.

Renaissance. 11-12. 144, 15e, 170

Peshawar,

32:

San Vitale, 77: Sant' Apollinare


Nuovo, 142. 144
Red Sea. maps 9, 32
57;

Reliquary, jeweled. '159

of,

Vandals in, 56. 58


North Sea, maps 8, 32
Notaras, Lucas, 167
Novgorod, maps 9, 32
Nubia, Christianity in, '28-29
Nuns, 99-100

George of Mangana, Church of, map 43


Gregory of Nazianzus, 137
Gregory of Nyssa, 137, quoted. 50

St.

162

tories of Heraclius over.

162

tion of. '54

St

Religious literature, 59, 137-138

threat to late

Antioch, 165; Cuiscard's

North Africa:

by landed

and Palestine by, 58-59; Islam in,


60: map 9. under Moslem Turks, 163:

Bezant

Raphenea, map 61
Ravenna. 59. Byzantine Influence on
church architecture, 22, 40: maps 8,

aristocracy. 62. 162: taxation of. 123.

Persia. 22. 57;

coin, '117, 118. See also

St George

ographlc, 142-144, mosaics, '22-23,


100, '101-111, 141, 142, 143, 144, '145-

Paul the Silentiary, quoted. 40


Peasants: life of, 118, '119-133; military

Pergamum.

Italy, 62,

monastery, '171,

Patzinaks, 62

Pera,

57
32

in

9.

Eumenlus of Gortyna. ^155


Church of. map 43. depic-

St,

144, '150-151, '156-157; hierarchical

Patriarch, office of, 50, 75, 82, 96

rebellion (532). 35. 48. 57

First

map

Island:

Religious

'177

maps

Normans

61

map 6l
Parthenon, as Christian church, 62

Nile,

Nomisma.

map

Paristrion,

Nika

9, 32,

St Demetrios, depictions of, 151


St.

Peloponnese; carpel manufacture. 118:


maps 8-9, 61: Ottoman Turks in, 167
Pendentive method of doming, '139
Pentecost. 102. '108

166

of.

80

St Eleutherlus, depiction of. ^109

Palladium statue of Athena, 33


Panlocralor, 110

164

palatii. office of,

St.

regained by Byzantium, 59, in Turkish


hands, 164

Ohrid, Yugo-

in

52-53, 77

Islam

of,

43.

Palaeologus dynasty, 55, 120, 166. 170


Palermo, map 8
in.

Sinai,

St Cyril. 12.28, 163

Quaeslot sacri

script illuminations

cism

Mount

slavia.

Manu-

Palace Cistern,
Palaces. 138.

map

Clement, Church
'156-157

St

under Justinian. 58
Painting. 143 See also Frescoes.

Palestine

maps

142. '172-173,

tine. 93-94. revival of. 55. suppression

siege oi Constantinople

(073-077). oO: second siege oi

Naissus: 18:

Anthony, 26-27
Athanasius the Athonite. 100
Bartholomew, depiction of. '105

St Basil. 137. 177

architecture, 40

Moslems Crusades

42 relics

rriap

0I.34

Si

16

Andrew Ctiurihol

Si

Empire 14 theme vslem. 50, 60 81


Michael lie, 137, l6l, quoted.

Psellus,

cullut

al heritage In. 12, 22, 40, 6l, 170,

<.<

maps

9, 32, S7. 59, 61.

164:

Ottoman Turks in. 167


Samosala map 6l
Samuel. King of Bulgars. 62
San Vitale. Ravenna. 77
Sant Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. 142,
144

Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome, 142


Saracens (Arabs), warfare against, 76,

83,85
Sardica (Sophia), 18: map*
S..r
.(..8.57
'

S..

9. 37,

61. 164

62. 163. 164

holaiii (impciial guards),

7S

191

Schools, 136

Superstition, 113, 118

Scribes, 100, 155

Synaxarion illuminations, *155


Synod, 96

Sculpture, preservation of Greco-Romati,


22, *23

Syracuse,

Scylitzes, John, account of Hfe of Basil

by, 63, *64-73

Sea of Marmara, 18, 31, 33, 35;


Sebastea, map 61
Seduction, punishment for, 21
Seljuk Turks, 62, 163-164, 166
Selucia, map 61
Semantron, *181
Senate, 19, 96,

map

Septum, maps

8,

map

42

maps

8,

Tools and utensils: artistry


123

in,

158; farm,

Torcello, Italy, Cathedral of, 144

Torture, 21, *70-71; of emperors, 48, ta-

57, 59, 61

77
Tournaments, jousting, *48-49, 114
Towers, map 42-43; Marble, 42; of Ga-

Syria, 11; Byzantine influences in, 12,

ble 76,

145; Islam in, 58-59, 60, 61; map 9;


monks, *26; Monophysitism in, 58;

under Moslem Turks, 163; Persian


conquest of, 58-59; regained by Byzantium, 59, 61, 62
Syrian dynasty, 60

lata, 43;

Mangana,

43; of

Anemas, 43

Trade: Constantinople as center

map

32, 36, 42, 61, 118; decline of By-

zantine, 161, 162, 166;

government

ulation of, 47, 116-117;

43

of, 31,

map

159; guardian of Constantinople, 24;

Shipping, 36, *41: Byzantine navy, 36,


*88-89; trade routes, 31, map 32-33

Taron, map 61
Tarsus, map 61

Tripoli (Syria), 165

Byzantine Empire, maps


58, 60, 61
Siegecraft in warfare, 86, *87-88

Taxation, 117, 123, 162

Troy, Constantine's

Silk:

government monopoly,

57,

52, 117; in-

dustry, 118; tapestries, *10, 145, *1S8;


trade, 31
Silver work, 142, *158

Sinai,

Mount:

map

map

Slaves, 31, 36, 37, 115, 117; freeing of,

21,45
Slavic world, influence of

map

Byzantium on,

170

map

Slavs: invasions of,

59; location of,

57

Social structure: distinctive clothing, 37,

115; guild system, 116-117; role of


116;

weakened by power of

landed aristocracy, 62, 161. See also

Lower

Upper

classes;

Soldiers, professional, 82, *84-85

Solomon, King, *105


Solomon, throne of, 39, 77
Sophia Palaeologa, Czarina, 170
Spain, 14;

map 57;

partly in By-

zantine Empire, 55; Visigoths

map

in, 56;

59

Spatharios, office of, 80

Spice trade, 31-33;


Sports, 114-115

map 33

Strategion, Constantinople, 45
Strategos, office of, 80, 81

62
Struma River, map 61

Strymon,

map

of,

61

Sueves, location

Sugar

trade, 31

Norman

Tunis,

capture

units, 59, 60, 81;

116
Theodora, Empress (wife of Justinian),

of,

map

map

57

Vladislav,

Volga,
choice for

17, 59; relic, '25

map

43;

Thucydides, 136
Tiberius III, Emperor, death, table 76
Tigris, maps 9, 32, 57, 61, 164
Tomb of Christ, stone of, 34

42-43

Warfare, '83-91; naval, '88-89; sacred,


as defense of the faith, 78; siegecraft,
86, '87-88; tactics, 84, 85. See also

Upper

Welfare, public, 37, 46, 57, 113, 116


Western Europe: attitudes toward By-

classes: civil aristocracy, 61, 80,

II,

37, 45,

116

Valencia,

Greek

zantium, 162, 164-166; belated aid to

Byzantium, 167, 168; monasticism in,


27; trade with, 36, map 32
Women: dress and makeup of, 115-116;
116; rights of, 21, 116, 117; role of,
116; society, 37, 45, 116

panel of St. Peter, 142, '150

map 32

map 43
Van, Lake, maps 9, 164
Vandals, in North Africa, 56; defeat by
Justinian, 58, map 57
Varangian Guard, 78-79
Varna, battle

in,

82, '84-87, 168;

36, '88

empresses, *78, 79, 116; lower classes,

Pope, 164

Valens, Aqueduct of,

Thrace: mops 9, 61; Ottoman Turks


166
Thracesion, map 61
Throne of Solomon, 39, 77

of Galata, 43; of Theodosius,

Wood

Salonika
Thessaly, Bulgarian conquest of, 62;
maps 8-9

Rome,

42-43: of Constantine, 42-43;

Wedding, '128-129, 131

Urban, engineer, 167


Uzes, 62

See also

map

Universities, 136

women,

Wall

controls: Byzantium, 117;

14

Army; Weapons

137, 161, 162, 166; sports, 114, 115;

map

Wage
Walls,

Weapons, 78-79,

of, 167,

maps

139. See also

Yugoslavia, Byzantine influences, 12,

'156-157

9, 61,

164
Vaspurkan, map 61
Vaulting, in church architecture, 138,

Dome

Venice: aid to Byzantium against Guis-

on
church architecture, *22-23, 40; maps
card, 162; Byzantine influence

zz
PRODUCTION STAFF FOR TIME INCORPORATED
Hallenbeck (Vice President and Director of Production),
Robert , foy, Caroline Ferri and Robert E. Fraser
Text photocomposed under the direction of Albert /. Dunn and Arthur ].

192

32

32

36, 147; landed aristocracy, 62, 118,

Theophilitzes, 65, *66-67

]ohn

map

new

36, 37; education of, 135-136; housing,

Theodosius the Great, Emperor, 55-56,


94
Theodosius II, Emperor, 136
Theodota (mother of Michael Psellus),
116
Theology, 51, 5.8, 97-98, 162; literature,
137. See also Dogma
Theophano, Empress, 76
61.

initial

Urban

map

King of Poland and Hungary,

167

161; clothing, 115; in Constantinople,

61

of, 45,

57,

Vladimir, Prince of Kiev, 61, 99

59

fire,

Theodora, Empress (mother of Michael


III), *68, 98
Theodore, Abbot of Stoudion, 116
Theodoric, King of Ostrogoths, 11
Theodosiopolis,

maps

59

Turks: ascendancy of, 161, 163-164, 166167; Khazars, 163; map 164; Ottoman,
166-170; Seljuk, 62, 163-164; siege and
capture of Constantinople by, 91, '160,
167-170; warfare against, 83, 85
Tyrrhenian Sea, map 8

of,

map 61
Theocracy, 75, 80, 170; King David as
symbol of, *81; Russian, 170
Theoctista (mother of Abbot Theodore),

Thessalonika, 18;

Squinch method of doming, *139


Squinches, church of Hosios Loukas,
102, 106-107
Stoicism, 15-16

Struma, battle

32;

Theodosius, Forum
of, map 42-43

classes

Soldier-farmers, 62, 82

Visigoths, in Spain, 56, 58, 59;

Tugrul, Seljuk ruler, 163

56-57, 58, *78, 79, 80

Smyrna, map 9

women,

True Cross,

165; silk industry, 118

Slave trade, 31

85;

map

Themes, administrative

61

12, 22, 28, 61,

Thebes:

8, 57,

34

43

capital, 18

Teluch, map 61
Tesserae (mosaic stones), 146
Tetrarchy, Roman Empire, 14-15
Theater, in Constantinople, 35, 114

Monastery,

maps

relics of,

Virgin Pammakaristos, Monastery of,

map

Triumphal Way, map 42

Textiles trade, 31

St. Catherine's

142, 172-173;

Sirmium,

Tripoli (Africa),

Taygetus Mountains, 113

Villehardouin, Geoffrey de, quoted, 165


Virgin, Church of the, Daphni, '110-111
Virgin Mary: depictions of, 102, '104105, '107, '109, 144, 151, '153, '157-

Trebizond, maps 9, 32, 57, 61


Tribonian, 58
Tribunal of the Nineteen Couches, 78
Trinity, 97

8,

map 61
Vienna, maps 8, 32
Village life, '119-133
Vidin,

Western competition and concessions,


161, 162, 166
Trade guilds, 47, 116-117
Tamerlane, 167
Tana, map 32
Taoism, 95
Taormina, map 61
Tapestry, silk, *158

Sicily, in

Turkish siege of Constantinople,


168
Veroli casket, '142, 144

routes, 31; various products, 31-33;

59
Serbia, influence of Byzantine architecture, 22
Serbs, in battle of Kossovo, 167
Serres, map 164
Severus (Septimus), Emperor, 35
Sewers, 37, 43
Shadrach, '28-29, '146
32, 57,

reg-

32-33;

32; role in Crusaders' capture of Constantinople (1204), 165-166; St. Mark's,


22, '23, 140; trade, 36, 162, 166; and
8,

L.

Dunn

Zeno, Emperor, death of, table 76


Zenobia, 14
Zeuxippus, Baths of, Constantinople, 35,
37
Zhaia, map 33
Zoe, Empress, '78, 79-80

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