Constantine Moves Capital to Constantiople
Period: 330 to Dec 31, 1453
Theodosian Walls CompletedDue to the threat of Attila the Hun the people of Constantinople repair and add to the walls of the city to ensure no one can break in to the city. The walls are built in three layers as you can see from the picture.Further Pictures of the Walls
Justinian I Becomes Emperor of the RomansIt is with the reign of Justinian that the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) really begins as he is the last emperor to try and restore the Roman Empire (both East and West) to its full scope. After Justinian, the West is never really brought back within the Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
Further Information on Justinian
Nika RiotsThe Nika Riots started due to dissatisfaction with Justinian's rule, especially his tax policies. The riots started in the Hippodrome and about two weeks later, with much of the city ruined, Justinian ended the riots by killing 30,000 people in the Hippodrome after inviting some of the rioters to talk peace.
Belisarius reconquers North Africa for Justinian and the Roman EmpireIn about two years, and at the cost of 100,000 pounds of gold, Belisarius is able to conquer the Vandal tribes of North Africa and restore this province to the Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
The Current Hagia Sophia CompletedThis is the thrid church with the name Hagia Sophia to stand in this spot in Constantinople and certainly the most impressive. It was completed after the second church was destroyed by the Nika Revolts. It is still considered a masterpiece of architecture today and it has served as a church, a mosque, and today is a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.
Italy is re-conquered for the Roman EmireThe attempts at reconquest s start in 535 and take about 20 years to complete (and 300,000 pounds of gold). However by the end of it Itlay is once again ruled by the Romans (It is taken away from the Ostrogoths) under Justinian. During this war part of Spain is also taken away from the Visigoths and brought back in to the Roman Empire
Justinian DiesBy the time Justinian had died he had almost restored the Roman Empire to its former size. He left spelendid monuments and buildings like the Hagia Sophia. However due to the plague and the large amounts of money spent on wars and buildings the Byzantine Empire was not in shape to hold on to all its conquests for long.
Jan 1, 730
Contoversy over Icons starts in the Byzantine EmpireIconoclasm the contoversy over whether to allow religious icons in the Orthodox Church starts. The influence of the Ten Commandments (No Graven Images) and to a lesser extent of Islam and its prohibition against images probably both played parts in the controversy.
Jan 1, 843
Empress Theodora Ends Iconoclam DebatesEmpress Theodora ends the Iconoclasm controversies in the Byzantine Empire by declaring that all Orthodox Christians will accept religious icons.
Jan 1, 863
Cyril and Methodius Create New Alphabet and Convert SlavsThese two brothers were able to create a whole new alphabet for the Slavic peoples (called the Cyrillic alphabet) which is still in use in much of Eastern Europe today. This enabled the brothers to translate parts of the Bible and convert many Slavs to Orthodox Christianity.
Apr 19, 1054
Great Schism between Catholic and Orthodox ChristiansThe Eastern Orthodox Church (with its head as the Byzantine Emperor) splits from the Western Catholic Church (with its head the Pope). This break took place due to theological issues reinforced with ideas such as the supremacy of the Pope or Emperor, language differences, and several other issues.
Aug 26, 1071
Battle of ManzikertLink to Info on Battle
The map shows how the Seljuk Turks were able to push into Anatolia (Asia Minor) after the defeat of the Byzantines at Manzikert.
Apr 1, 1204
Crusaders sack the City of ConstantinopleThe Crusaders, encouraged by the Italian sailors and leaders of the Crusader Fleet, take and sack the city of Constantinople. The Crusaders then created the Latin Kingdoms and ruled over some Byzantine lands for about the next 60 years. This seriously weakend the Byzantine Empire and is one of the major reasons for its later weakness when facing the Ottoman Turks.
May 29, 1453
Constantinople Falls to Ottoman Turks and Byzantine Empire EndsThe Ottoman Turks, after a one month siege, are able to take the last part of the Byzantine Empire. They are able to break in through the Theodosian Walls using massive cannons (see picture). This in effect ended the Byzantine Empire, but benefitted Western Europe in the fact that many Byzantine scholars came to Italy where their knowledge helped spur the Italian Renaissance.