Return to home History: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/byza/hd_byza.htm The Eastern Roman Empire that dates from the fall
of the Western Empire in 476AD. A three volume dictionary on
Byzantium was edited by Alexander Kazhdan (d.1997 at 74).
(WUD, 1994, p.204)(SFC, 6/10/97, p.A26) 38 According
to tradition, St. Andrew founded the See of Byzantium
(Constantinople) installing Stachys as bishop. Andrew is said to
have been later martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras
(Patrć) in Achaea, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese.
293 Mar 1, Roman emperor
Maximianus introduced tetrarchy.
305 May 1, Emperor Gaius
Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Jovius of Rome abdicated. Constantius
I Chlorus (Flavius Valerius Constantius) became Western emperor.
Galerius (Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus) became Eastern
309 Maximinus II Daia (d.313)
became Eastern emperor.
312 Oct 27, Prior to a battle
between Constantine and Maxentius, Constantine experienced a vision
of Christ that ordered him to ornament the shields of his soldiers
with the Greek letters chi and rho, the monogram for Christ.
Constantine won the battle and attributed his success to Christ. He
became emperor of the West and an advocate of Christianity. [see Oct
(MC, 1/20/02)(MH, 12/96)(CU, 6/87)
312 Oct 28, Constantine
the Great defeated Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius at the Mulvian
Bridge. Constantine’s smaller army (about 50,000 strong) won a
decisive victory there; while fleeing, Maxentius drowned in the
river. Constantine was instantly converted when he saw a cross in
the sky, with the inscription "In hoc signo vincit" ("In this sign
you shall conquer"). [see Oct 27]
(HN, 10/28/98)(DoW, 1999, P.398)
313 Apr 30, Licinius unified
the whole of the eastern empire under his own rule.
313 Constantine met with the
eastern emperor at Milan, capital of the late Roman Empire. They
agreed on a policy of religious tolerance. The Edict of Milan
legalized Christianity, but also allowed Romans religious choice.
(CU, 6/87)(ITV, 1/96, p.58)(SFEC, 7/13/97,
p.T13)(SSFC, 3/21/04, p.M6)
313 Maximinus II Daia, Eastern
emperor, was killed at Tarsus.
314-335 Pope Sylvester I. A document from the 9th
or 10th century called the "Donation of Constantine" was forged to
show Constantine granting to Sylvester and his successors spiritual
supremacy over all matters of faith and worship and temporal
dominion over Rome and the entire Western empire.
317 Aug 7, Flavius Julius
Constantius II, Emperor Egypt, Byzantium, Rome (337-61), was born.
324 Constantine chose Byzantium
as his new capital. He moved his court to Byzantium and chiseled his
name on the portal.
(ATC, p.24)(WSJ, 3/28/97, p.A1)
325 Licinius (Valerius Licianus
Licinius), Eastern emperor, was deposed and executed by Constantine.
326 Jul 25, Constantine refused
to carry out the traditional pagan sacrifices.
326 Constantine executed his
son Flavius Julius Crispus, born to his 1st wife, under the
persuasion of his 2nd wife Fausta.
(PCh, 1992, p.48)
326-330 The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
was built by the Roman emperor Constantine. The church was rebuilt
under Justinian (527-565).
(SFC, 12/26/96, p.B2)(WSJ, 4/5/02, p.A1)
330 May 11, Constantine renamed
the town of Byzantium to: "New Rome which is Constantine’s City." It
became know as Constantinople.
(ATC, p.31)(HN, 5/11/98)
330 Constantine began the
building of the Great Palace in Constantinople.
(SFC, 7/27/98, p.A8)
335 Oct 21, Constantinople
emperor (Constantine the Great) enacted rules against Jews.
335 Byzantine Emperor
Constantine built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on
the hill of Golgotha, where his mother claimed to have found the
remains of the True Cross. It was raised by the Persians in 614,
reconstructed and again destroyed by Caliph Hakim of Egypt in 1009.
It was rebuilt by the Crusaders.
(WSJ, 1/27/07, p.W13)
337 May 22, Constantine (47),
convert to Christianity and Emperor of Rome (306-37), died. He had
made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and had
the Chapel of the Burning Bush built in the Sinai Desert at the site
where Moses was believed to have witnessed the Miracle of the
Burning Bush. He was baptized just before death.
(V.D.-H.K.p.92)(PCh, 1992, p.48)(MC, 5/22/02)
337 Sep 9, Constantine's three
sons, already Caesars, each took the title of Augustus. Constantine
II and Constans shared the west while Constantius II took control of
347-407 The era of St. John Chrysostom. He was the
ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
(WUD, 1994 p.264)
360 Feb 15, The first Hagia
Sophia was inaugurated by Constantius II. It was built next to the
smaller church Hagia Eirene in Constantinople. Both churches acted
together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire.
361 Nov 3, Flavius Julius
Constantius II (44), the 1st Byzantine Emperor, died. Flavius
Claudius Julianus, Julian the Apostate, succeeded Constantius and
tried to make paganism the official religion of the empire.
(V.D.-H.K.p.92)(PCh, 1992, p.48)(MC, 11/3/01)
364 Feb 26, On the death of
Jovian, a conference at Nicaea chose Valentinan, an army officer who
was born in the central European region of Pannania, to succeed him
in Asia Minor.
379-395 Theodosius I (c.346-395) served as emperor
East Roman Republic.
(WUD, 1994 p.1471)
380 Theodosius I ordered that
all people under his rule embrace Christianity.
(SSFC, 3/21/04, p.M6)
384 Sep 9, Flavius Honorius,
emperor East Roman Republic (395-423), was born.
393 The ancient Olympic Games
were held at intervals beginning in 776 BC until about 393 CE when
they were abolished by Roman emperor Theodosius I after Greece lost
its independence. The modern Olympic Games were started in 1896.
396 The last Olympic Games were
held under Emp. Theodosius I, who halted them due to increasing
professionalism and corruption. [see 393CE] In 2004 Nigel Spivey
authored “The Ancient Olympics."
(SFC, 7/14/96, p.T1)(WSJ, 8/13/04, p.W8)
401 Apr 10, Theodosius II, the
Younger, Eastern Roman emperor, was born.
408 May 1, Theodosius II
succeeded to the throne of Constantinople.
411 Proclus (d.485), Greek
mathematician and theologian, was born. [see 412]
(WUD, 1994 p.1147)(MC, 4/17/02)
412 Feb 8, St. Proclus,
Patriarch of Constantinople, was born. [see 411]
415 Archbishop Cyril of
Alexandria sent a mob of religious police to stop Hypatia, an
eccentric pagan ascetic and scholar. The mob kidnapped her, dragged
her to a church, stripped and tortured her with broken shards of
pottery. Her body parts were then butchered, put on public display
and burnt to a crisp. In 2004 Jonathan Kirsch authored "God Against
the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism."
(SSFC, 3/21/04, p.M1)
421 Feb 8, Flavius Constantine
became emperor Constantine III of Roman Empire West.
425 Feb 27, Theodosius
effectively founded a university in Constantinople.
474 Jan 18, Leo I, Roman
Byzantine Emperor (457-74), died. He was succeeded by his grandson
474 Nov 17, Leo II (b.467),
Roman Byzantine Emperor, died.
527 Apr 1, Emp. Justin named
Justinianus co-emperor of Byzantium. [see Apr 4]
(OTD)(PC, 1992 ed, p.54)
527 Apr 4, In Constantinople,
Justin, seriously ill, crowned his nephew Justinian as his
co-emperor. [see Apr 1]
527 Aug 1, Justinus I,
Byzantine emperor (518-27), died.
(PC, 1992 ed, p.54)
527-548 Empress Theodora, considered the most
powerful woman in Byzantine history, rules with her husband
527-565 Justinian ruled the Byzantine Empire.
(WSJ, 4/5/02, p.W12)
532 Jan 13-532 Jan 14, The 2nd
Hagia Sophia cathedral burned down in Constantinople during the Nika
uprising, which failed leaving some 30-40,000 people dead. Justinian
and his wife Theodora had attended festivities at the Hippodrome, a
stadium for athletic competition. Team support escalated from
insults to mob riots and in the end Constantinople lay in ruins.
Justinian proceeded to rebuild the city with extensive commissions
for religious art and architecture, including the new Hagia Sophia.
534 Justinian brought the
Vandal king into Constantinople and resurrected the triumphal
procession of 71AD.
(SFC, 10/23/06, p.A15)
536 Dec 9, Byzantine Count
Belisarius entered Rome through the Asinarian Gate at the head of
5,000 troops. At the same time, 4,000 Ostrogoths left the city
through the Flaminian Gate and headed north to Ravenna, the capital
of their Italian kingdom. For the first time since 476, when the
Germanic king, Odoacer, had deposed the last Western Roman emperor
and crowned himself “King of the Romans," the city of Rome was once
more part of the Roman empire—albeit an empire whose capital had
shifted east to Constantinople. Belisarius had taken the city back
as part of Emperor Justinian’s grand plan to recover the western
provinces from their barbarian rulers. The plan was meant to be
carried out with an almost ridiculously small expeditionary force.
The 5,000 soldiers that General Belisarius led included Hunnish and
Moorish auxiliaries, and they were expected to defend circuit walls
12 miles in diameter against an enemy who would soon be back, and
who would outnumber them at least 10-to-1.
(HN, 12/9/98)(HNC, 10/1/99)
537 Dec 27, The Hagia Sophia
Byzantine cathedral in Constantinople was consecrated. St. Sophia
(meaning "the holy wisdom" in Greek) was built by Emperor Justinian.
It remained a symbol of Byzantine grandeur until Istanbul was
conquered by Muslim armies.
552 Agents from Byzantium
impersonating monks smuggled silkworms and mulberry leaves out of
China in hollow canes.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R50)(Econ, 8/23/08, p.51)
554 Aug 14, Ravenna became the
seat of the Byzantine military governor in Italy.
558 May 7, The dome of the
church of St. Sophia in Constantinople collapsed. Its immediate
rebuilding was ordered by Justinian.
560 Emperor Justinian about
this time returned the treasure of Jerusalem, plundered by the
Romans in 70AD, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
(SFC, 10/23/06, p.A15)
565 Nov 14, Justinian I,
[Petrus Sabbatius], Byzantine emperor (527-565), died at age 83.
578 Oct 5, Justinus II,
Byzantine emperor (565-78), died.
590 St. Elijah's Monastery, aka
Dair Mar Elia, was completed in Mosul. It was named after Assyrian
Christian monk St. Elijah, who began the construction in 582. In
2014 the Christian monastery was destroyed by the Islamic State.
(AP, 1/20/16)(SFC, 1/21/16, p.A4)
610 Oct 5, Heraclitus' fleet
626 Aug 7, Battle at
Constantinople: Slavs, Persians and Avars were defeated. Emp.
Heraclius repelled the attacks. The attacks began in 625.
(PCh, 1992, p.60)(MC, 8/7/02)
628 Apr 3, In Persia, Kavadh
sued for peace with the Byzantines. He handed back Armenia,
Byzantine Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt.
636 Jul 23, Arabs gained
control of most of Palestine from Byzantine Empire.
636 Aug 15, At the Battle at
Yarmuk, east of the Sea of Galilee, Islamic forces beat a Byzantine
army and gained control of Syria.
(PC, 1992, p.61)
641 Feb 11, Heraclius (~65),
emperor of Byzantium (610-641), died.
649 May 14, Theodore, Greek
Pope (642-49), excommunicated by Paul II, died.
662 Aug 13, Maximus Confessor
(b.c580), Greek theologian, died.
668 Jul 15, Constantine II
(37), emperor of Byzantium, died.
711 Dec 11, Justitianus II
(~42), emperor of Byzantium, died.
729 Emperor Leo the Isaurian
ordered the destruction of an icon of Christ set in the great Bronze
Gate in Constantinople. Theodosia led a group of enraged women who
killed the officer removing the image. Theodosia was killed in the
forum and became a martyr-saint. Her saint’s day was May 29.
(Ot, 1993, p.3)
741 Jun 18, Leo III de
Isaurier, Byzantine Emperor (717-41), died.
787 Sep 24, The 2nd Council of
Nicaea (7th ecumenical council) opened in Asia Minor.
787 Oct 23, Byzantine
Empress Irene (c. 752-803) attended the final session of the 2nd
church council at Nicaea, Bithynia [now Iznik, a city in Anatolia
(now part of Turkey)]. The council formally revived the adoration of
icons and reunited the Eastern church with that of Rome.
c799-878 St. Ignatius Nicetas. He served as the
Patriarch of Constantinople from 846-858 and 867-878.
(WUD, 1994 p.708)
802 Oct 31, Empress Irene was
driven out of Byzantium.
811 Jul 26, Nicephorus I,
Byzantine Emperor (802-11), died in the Battle at Pliska. The
Bulgarian under monarch Krum beat the Byzantines.
820 Dec 25, Leo V, the
Armenian, Byzantine gen. and Emperor (813-20), was murdered.
842 Feb 19, The Medieval
Iconoclastic Controversy ended as a council in Constantinople
formally reinstated the veneration of icons in the churches.
860 Jun 18, Swedish Vikings
866 Sep 19, Leo VI Sophos,
Byzantine Emperor (886-912) and writer (Problematica), was born.
867 Feb 11, Theodora, the
Saint, beauty queen, Byzantine Empress, died.
886 Aug 29, Basilius I, the
Macedonian, Byzantine emperor (867-886), died.
891 Feb 6, Photius, Byzantine
theologist, patriarch of Constantinople, saint, died.
904 Jul 31, Arabs captured
Thessalonica of the Byzantine Empire.
911 Sep 2, Viking monarch Oleg
of Kiev, Russia, signed a treaty with the Byzantines.
917 Aug 20, A Byzantine
counter-offensive was routed by Syeon at Anchialus, Bulgaria.
963 Mar 15, Romanus II (25),
Byzantine emperor (959-63), died.
969 Oct 28, After a prolonged
siege, the Byzantines ended 300 years of Arab rule in Antioch.
969 Dec 10, Nicephorus II
Phocas, Byzantine co-Emperor (963-69), was murdered.
972 John I Tzimiskes, the
Byzantine Emperor at Constantinople (969-976), granted a charter for
the Monastic Republic of Holy Mount Athos in Greece.
988 Prince Vladimir of Kiev
accepted Byzantine Orthodoxy. This is the traditional date for the
beginning of Russian Christianity. The Kievan Rus ruler was baptized
in the ancient Crimean Greek city of Chersonesus before bringing
Christianity to the region.
(SSFC, 6/24/01, p.A14)(AP, 8/1/15)
992 Constantinople granted
Venetian goods lower tariffs than other merchandise.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R50)
1000 About this time a 174-page
manuscript was copied onto goatskin parchment in Constantinople from
papyrus versions of Archimedes’ original calculations and
mathematical diagrams. Over the years it was written over. The
Archimedes Palimpsest was later discovered and examined using x-ray
technology at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.
(SFC, 5/23/05, p.A4)
1009 In Jerusalem the Church of
the Holy Sepulchre was burned by Muslims under Caliph Hakim of
(WSJ, 5/7/01, p.A20)(WSJ, 1/27/07, p.W13)
1014 Oct 6, The Byzantine
Emperor Basil II (958-1025) earned the title "Slayer of Bulgars"
after he ordered the blinding of 15,000 Bulgarian troops. Basil II
was godfather to Russia’s Prince Vladimir.
10/6/98)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_II)(Econ, 2/16/08, p.60)
1034 Apr 11, Romanus III
Argyrus, Byzantine emperor (1028-34), was assassinated by his wife.
1053 Jun 18, In Italy Richard
of Aversa helped win the Battle of Civitate, inflicting a decisive
defeat over the papal army, which had joined Byzantium in an
alliance against the Normans.
1071 Aug 26, Turks defeated the
Byzantine army under Emperor Romanus IV at Manzikert (Malaz Kard),
Eastern Turkey. Romanus was taken prisoner.
(PCh, 1992, p.85)(Ot, 1993, p.4)
1096 Aug 1, The crusaders under
Peter the Hermit reached Constantinople. Anna Comnena, a 13 year-old
Christian in Constantinople, watched as the crusaders marched into
(ATC, p.18)(HN, 8/1/98)
1100-1200 Constantinople was devastated by fires
in the 12th century.
(SFC, 7/27/98, p.A8)
1153 Mar 23, The first Treaty
of Constance was signed between Frederick I "Barbarossa" and Pope
Eugene III. By the terms of the treaty, the Emperor was to prevent
any action by Manuel I Komnenos to reestablish the Byzantine Empire
on Italian soil and to assist the pope against his enemies in revolt
1153 Anna Komnene (b.1083),
Byzantine princess and scholar, died. She was a daughter of the
Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina. She is one
of the first known female historians, having written the Alexiad.
1156 May 28, Battle at
Brindisi: King William of Sicily beat a Byzantine fleet.
1156 The first foreign exchange
contracts were issued and allowed the repayment of Genoese pounds
debt with Byzantine bezants.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)
1157 The Bank of Venice issued
the first government bonds to raise funds for was with
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)
1182 In Constantinople Western
Christians were massacred by Muslims. A cardinal was beheaded and
4,000 Western Christians were sold into slavery.
(WSJ, 5/8/01, p.A26)
1185 Sep 12, Andronicus I
Comnenus, Byzantine emperor (1183-85), was lynched.
1198 Fleeing from the Turks, a
group of Armenian nobles and their followers settled in Byzantine
Cilicia where they established a state know as Lesser or Little
Armenia. In this year the area attained the status of kingdom and
survived to 1375.
1204 Apr 9, The Venetians began
their assault on Constantinople.
1204 Apr 12, The Fourth
Crusade, led by Boniface of Montferrat, sacked Constantinople.
Constantinople fell to a combined force of Franks and Venetians. The
4th Crusade failed to reach Palestine but sacked the Byzantine
Christian capital of Constantinople.
(AM, May/Jun 97 p.)(NH, 9/96, p.22)(HN, 4/12/98)
1204 Venice won control over
most of Albania, but Byzantines regained control of the southern
portion and established the Despotate of Epirus.
(www, Albania, 1998)
1204 The rule of Venice over
Crete dates to this year, when the Republic was awarded 3/8 of the
Eastern Roman Empire for its role in supporting the Fourth Crusade.
1237 Mar 23, Jan of Brienne,
King of Jerusalem, Emperor of Constantinople, died.
1238-1263 The Byzantine Hagia Sophia church in
Trebizond was built during the reign of Manuel I during this period.
It was converted to a mosque in the 16th century.
1261 Aug 15, Constantinople
fell to Michael VIII of Nicea and his army.
1281 Osman I came to
power at the age of 23 and began a steady campaign against the
Byzantines until his death in 1324. He managed to capture many
Byzantine fortresses, most notably Bursa, consolidating Ottoman
power in the region. Generally regarded as the founder of the
Ottoman Turkish state, Osman I (also known as Osman Gazi) led
ongoing campaigns against the Byzantines in the 13th and early 14th
centuries AD. Part of the migration of Turkic tribes into Anatolia,
Osman was the son of Ertugrul, who had established a principality in
present-day Sögüt, Turkey.
1320 Oct 12, Michael IX
Paleologi, emperor of Byzantine (1295-1320), died.
1332 Feb 13, Andronicus II
Palaeologus, Byzantine emperor (1282-1328), monk, died.
1355 Dec 20, Stephen Urosh IV
of Serbia died while marching to attack Constantinople.
1361 The Ottomans under Orhan
crossed into Europe and captured Adrianople (Edirne), the 2nd major
city of Byzantium.
(Ot, 1993, p.5)
1391-1425 Manuel II Palaeologus ruled the
(Econ, 9/23/06, p.59)
1404 Feb 9, Constantine XI
Dragases, last Byzantine Emperor, was born.
1408 Sep 22, Johannes VII
Palaeologus, Byzantine Emperor (1376-77, 90/1404-8), died.
1422 Sep 6, Sultan Murat II
ended a vain siege of Constantinople.
1425 Jul 21, Manuel
Palaeologus, Byzantine Emperor (1391-1425), writer, died. He ended
his days after signing a humiliating peace with the Ottoman Turks.
Oct 31, Johannes VIII Palaeologus (b.1390), Emperor of Byzantium,
1453 Apr 22-1453 Apr 23, The
Ottomans hauled 76 warships out of the water and dragged them on
wood rails to bypass the Greek blockade of the Constantinople
(ON, 10/00, p.12)(Ot, 1993, p.13)
1453 May 29, Constantinople
fell to Muhammad II, ending the Byzantine Empire. The fall of the
eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium, to the Ottoman Turks was led by
Mehmed II. Emperor Constantine XI Dragases (49), the 95th ruler to
sit on the throne of Constantine, was killed. The city of
Constantinople fell from Christian rule and was renamed Istanbul.
The Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque. Spice prices soared in
Europe. Nicolo Barbaro wrote his "Diary of the Siege of
Constantinople." Manuel Chrysophes, court musician to Constantine
XI, wrote a threnody for the fall of Constantinople. In 2005 Roger
Crowley authored “1453 The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash
of Islam and the West."
(NH, 9/96, p.22)(Sky, 4/97, p.53)(SFC, 7/27/98,
p.A8)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R49)(ON, 10/00, p.12)(Ot, 1993, p.6)(WSJ,
1/2/02, p.A15)(SSFC, 8/14/05, p.F4)
1935 In Istanbul, Turkey, the
Hagia Sophia Byzantine cathedral was turned into a museum. Also
called the Church of Holy Wisdom, it was built in 537 and remained a
symbol of Byzantine grandeur until Istanbul was conquered by Muslim
1976 Ernst Kitzinger
(1912-2003), a foremost historian of Byzantine, early Christian and
early medieval art, authored “Byzantine Art in the Making."
(SFC, 2/10/03, p.B4)
2007 Judith Herrin authored
“Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire."
(Econ, 10/6/07, p.97)
2010 Feb 8, Byzantium Novum was
founded as a micronation dedicated to the revival of Byzantine
civilization and culture.