Talk:Byzantine Empire

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"Today part of..." entry[edit]

Regarding this [1] attempt at reintroducing a "today part of..." entry with a list of modern countries in the infobox: please note that such a list was previously removed by consensus, most recently after this talkpage discussion in 2012: Talk:Byzantine Empire/Archive 12#List of Countries. Please don't reintroduce this without prior consensus. Thanks, – Fut.Perf. 20:15, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

@Fut.Perf., with all due respect, information like that on infoboxes are required. I was the one who reintroduced the "today part of..." under an IP address, which by the way I'm not giving, before creating a new account. I regret not using consensus before reintroducing "today part of..." infobox. Other empire and country articles like the Russian Empire and the Spanish Empire have a "today part of.." entry too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kevinmuniz115 (talkcontribs)

These are also being removed in places, and probably should be in others. As for the rationale, I second the comments of Athenean, EtienneDolet, and others in a similar discussion at Ottoman Empire. Better off without them. There is a broader discussion of the issue here. Laszlo Panaflex (talk) 00:45, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
@Laszlo Panaflex What you said that former country articles would be better off without them is your opinion. In the discussion that you brought up, it's important for users in the discussion to state their opinions whether or not we should have the "today part of.." entry removed. In my opinion, I would like for former country articles to keep them as long as they're useful. Kevinmuniz115 (talk) 21:41, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Please discuss changes to the lead[edit]

After this comment by Swarm, I decided to refrain from editing the lead here, agreeing that perhaps I was no longer approaching that area with a clear view. A consensus version of the lead was developed by multiple editors some time ago. I urged above for changes to the lead to be discussed before being made, but that is no longer being done. So we have returned to where the lead changes pretty much daily. Now there is a lengthy edit war going on over the "Greek-speaking" phrasing. (That language was part of the consensus version, for what it's worth.) I'll not take a position whether that version should be restored or on the current edit war. But I would urge again that edits to the lead be discussed. Having the intro change on a daily basis is not a good situation, and a name-calling edit war is certainly not constructive. Laszlo Panaflex (talk) 05:20, 6 December 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for this, I agree. Looks like one editor decided to remove "Greek-speaking" and it was then warred over by a bunch of IPs. The article is semi-protected now and the edit is minor, not that controversial, and not incorrect per se, so I don't think it's worth edit warring over, but it is a long-term, stable wording that probably should not have been removed unilaterally. Swarm 07:41, 6 December 2015 (UTC)
Just to fill in a few details about what actually happened: the removal of the "predominantly Greek-speaking" wording from the lead was first done by 2a02:2430:3:2500::b807:3da0 on 14 November [2], with the reasonable-sounding argument that "Linguistic distribution of the east Empire was very complex". Their new wording was quite cumbersome overall and people began tinkering with it to smoothen it out, so I later reverted the rest of the intro to the old wording, but left the "Greek-speaking" bit out [3]. I believe the IP had a point about it, because the Greek-ness is not a necessary part of the definition of what the Byzantine Empire was, which is what the sentence should be about. It was then sneakily reinserted, without an explanation, by a sock IP of banned User:Deucalionite [4]. Note that Deucalionite also strengthened the wording from "predominantly Greek-speaking" to simply "Greek-speaking", which makes it factually false. Deacon of Pndapetzim was the next to remove it [5], again with a reasonable edit summary. Then Deucalionite went on his usual socking spree to edit-war it back in again. I have no idea who the other IP was who was reverting against him though. Fut.Perf. 09:14, 6 December 2015 (UTC)

A few improvement suggestions[edit]

When editing any other article I would not be bothered to discuss anything as unimportant as this, but knowing how sensitive the lead section of this article is, I feel obliged to post here before changing anything myself. I would like to suggest the following, relatively unimportant, improvements:

  • Lead, first paragraph, second sentence: change "until it fell" into until it fell
  • Fourth sentence: wiki-link "historiographical"; I doubt the average reader knows what historiography (as opposed to history) is
  • Same sentence: replace "its citizens continued to refer to their empire" with "its citizens and contemporaries continued to refer to it"; because just "citizens" implies only they themselves called their empire Romania etc., which is not true. The Arabs, Turkish, Rus, and many others also called it Rûm, Romania, etc., as is explained in more detail at the end of the "Nomenclature" section;

I don't expect anything of this to be really controversial. That's it, thank you for your time. Michael! (talk) 16:18, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Furthermore, and this is probably more controversial, I would recommend removing "rather than Roman polytheism" at the end of the second paragraph. Just "characterised by Orthodox Christianity" is much better. Michael! (talk) 16:35, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Hi, thanks for your suggestions. About the first two, those two extra links, I'll have to declare myself responsible, because I think we used to have both of them at some time and it was me who removed them. About linking "until it fell" to the Fall of Constantinople, I had the feeling it was a bit of an "easter-egg link", because it's difficult for a reader to predict what a sentence fragment like that would link to (There is a full and overt link to the same article a few paragraphs down at the end of the lede section). About linking "historiographical" to historiography, I felt it was giving unnecessary visual weight to a term that isn't really that explanative in the context – the historiography article deals with "the study of the methodology of historians in developing history as an academic discipline", but the use of "Byzantine Empire" isn't really linked to any specific theory or tradition of history-writing. If the term "historiographical" in our sentence here is felt to be difficult to understand, a better solution would be to reword the sentence. – About "citizens and contemporaries", I have no objections; this too seems to be something we used to have; if it was removed it may have been out of some concern about the idea that not all of its contemporaries at all times continued to call it "Roman empire", but then, that would be yet another instance of that perennial plague of pedantry. About your fourth suggestion, again, no particular objections as far as I'm concerned, but I have to say I don't really follow you why you feel the shorter version would be better. Fut.Perf. 20:17, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Hi, thank you for your quick reply. Yeah, I think I recall a slightly different, older version.
  • A valid point. And yes, there is already a clear link to the Fall of Constantinople in the last sentence of the last paragraph of the lead section. However, the wording "until it fell in 1453" implies a sudden major event which would justify a link here. Perhaps it could be better to rewrite that sentence into "... and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks."
  • Concerning the second point, I respectfully disagree with rewording this term; "historiographical" is an appropiate and precise term, which explains (to me, at least) exactly what ERE and BE are.
  • Well, I didn't propose "all contemporaries at all times". Adding "contemporaries" would provide a better coverage of the second half of the "Nomenclature" section. Furthermore, as I read it, this lead sentence emphasizes that they didn't call it, nor were called in their own time, ERE or BE.
  • As to removing "rather than Roman polytheism", I feel this creates a false dichotomy. Besides "Roman polytheism" redirects to religion in ancient Rome, which is not about a single unified state religion: it also discusses, among other things, Christianity. Furthermore, it doesn't add anything substantial, and MOS:INTRO recommends a concise lead, representing the article's most important points. I could give a lengthier argumentation, even though I guess I seem to be a pedant already :)
Michael! (talk) 19:04, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well, I've been bold and rewrote the second paragraph of the lead in line with the points discussed above, although I also inserted a sentence on Constantine, because I felt it was required by the already existing first sentence of this paragraph (which I didn't change). Michael! (talk) 19:45, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

PS Throughout the article's body text "Byzantium" and "Byzantine Empire" are used interchangeably. Perhaps "Byzantium" ought to be mentioned as an equivalent term in the lead, e.g.: "The Byzantine Empire or Byzantium, sometimes referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, was ..."
By the way, why are there coordinates given at the top of the article? "Coordinates: 41°00′N 28°58′E" This seems nonsensical (and significantly too precise), perhaps those ought to be removed. Michael! (talk) 20:08, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Title Name Change[edit]

Fruitless rehashing of same old complaint. Fut.Perf. 11:56, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I have been quite bothered by the name of this article as it does not all give an accurate picture of what this empire is.The term Byzantine Empire is to me too archaic as Byzantium was the name of Istanbul when it was not the capital of the Roman Empire.Also I feel the term is misleading as it implies the Byzantine empire isn't the Roman Empire at all and also the article said it was a continuation of the Roman Empire but the Byzantine Empire and the Roman Empire are the exact same entities for goodness sake and most of all this misleads that all the Roman Empire died in 476 ad rather than 1453 ad. All what I'm requesting is to correct any errors in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:43, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

Per Wikipedia policy, we follow the naming practices used in scholarship. It doesn't matter if you or I find this name "misleading"; what matters is that scholarship unanimously uses it. Period. This has all been debated ad nauseam. Please read the big notice at the top of this page: "Before discussing the naming and etymology of the Byzantine Empire, please visit the relevant archived discussions." Fut.Perf. 11:56, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


The first line under the heading 'Religion' is as follows: The Byzantine Empire was a Theocracy ruled by God working through the Emperor.

This is presented as a statement of fact. My knowledge of the Byzantine Empire is very slim, but one thing I am sure of is that it was not ruled by a supernatural being. It seems to me also that Byzantium was an empire run by an emperor or a theocracy run by religious leaders, but that it cannot have been both. (talk) 11:46, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Good point. Can somebody suggest a good replacement wording? Fut.Perf. 13:38, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I think that the concept of theocracy may have to be clarified. Otherwise the BE was a theocracy. There are many RS calling it so. Dr. K. 16:40, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think we're debating primarily whether or not the term "theocracy" applies (although we might have to clarify, because "theocracy" is often used to imply ruling by something like a priestly class, which wasn't the case here). The main issue is the purely semantic one that we are presenting it in a wording that, if taken literally, implies the real existence and the real activity of a "God" that actually was ruling the empire. Fut.Perf. 17:01, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree. Dr. K. 17:15, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
So the wording should simply indicate that this is how they saw it, rather than flatly stating that as the reality. Something like, "The Byzantine Empire was a Theocracy, seen by its subjects as ruled by God working through the Emperor." Laszlo Panaflex (talk) 17:32, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I think it was more complex than that. For example, this reference expands on the subtleties of the term as applied to Byzantium. Dr. K. 17:49, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Unlike rulers in medieval Europe, the Byzantines considered their emperor to be acting on behalf of God, but not appointed by God. So if an emperor fucked up in some way - was considered to be unlucky or contributed to a military disaster or whatever - he could be safely deposed of and replaced by an alternative who would more correctly act on His behalf (which equated to acting in the best interests of the empire and its people). Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 15:36, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

I clarified the sentence. Ugly Ketchup (talk) 08:37, 14 April 2016 (UTC)

Thank you![edit]

I just want to thank everyone who has contributed to this article. So impressive, and I just learned so much! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:38, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

Why is the Ottoman Empire the only listed successor[edit]

Their were multiple successor why is the Ottoman Empire the only listed one — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2003:57:E36E:3841:5C09:5924:C72B:B08F (talk) 20:23, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

Romanization of Greek names[edit]

Is it standard to transcribe all pre-Modern Greek words/names in a way that implies a classical pronunciation despite that in Byzantine times, 1000 AD to be precise, most (if not all) phonological changes were completed? For example, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων is transcribed "Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn", with long vowels preserved: by this time, long and short vowel distinctions are lost. I am not very familiar with how Greek is to be transcribed in generally, but are classical pronunciations still followed through even for Modern Greek (IE. with β as 'b' not 'v', αι as 'ai' not 'e', αυ/ευ as 'au/eu' not 'av/ev')? If it is acceptable to transcribe these words in a way reflecting Byzantine-era pronunciation, it might be recommendable. The page on "Medieval Greek" does this to some extent, with πεδιά as "pediá" not "paidiá", and οἰκία as "ykía" not "oikía". Iotacist (talk) 01:52, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Iotacist

main map's errors[edit]

Some time now i 've noticed the byzantine empire's map of 555 is carrying some serious mistakes. The most striking is the capital mark on Rome. The empire's capital always had been Constantinople (which currently is incorectly titled Byzantium). Another mistake is the depiction of trajan's era province names in justinian's era (to many to be pointed). Could the map artist who made this please make some more research and fix it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:07, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

  • comment -- the current main map (infobox/lede) does not show the imperial territories in the crimea/northern black sea area, as of 555. Lx 121 (talk) 22:37, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
Pinging User:Tataryn who created the map. --1990'sguy (talk) 04:24, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
The map was fixed a few days ago. Thank you Tataryn! --1990'sguy (talk) 04:41, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 28 June 2016[edit]

So, I did some research onto this and the Klimata region of Crimea belonged in Byzantine hands prior to the early 8th century, and supporting this is the evidential citadel that Justinian I built in the city of Kerch. Also The use of Chersonesus as a place of Exile for Justinian II. This shows that byzantines controlled southern crimea from head to toe up to the bosphorus. I have modified the map of Tataryn to include this place. Please replace the map used in the page. Also the user above's concern is certainly an issue that needs fixing. But Im afraid I couldn't do it in the map I have produced. My link: Thank you.

LaikasKruger (talk) 00:09, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format.  B E C K Y S A Y L E 14:03, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. @Becky Sayles: The user wants the image in the article to be replaced with the other one, but this would need reliable sources first, and it would be better to upload it as a new revision to the original image if it can be verified in RS. nyuszika7h (talk) 14:15, 6 July 2016 (UTC)


these numbers, from the infobox, can not be right.

" Area • 450 AD[1] 2,800,000 km² (1,081,086 sq mi)

• 555 AD[1] 2,700,000 km² (1,042,476 sq mi) "

by 555 justinian, belisarius, et al. had ADDed back about one half of the old "west" roman empire to the existing territory of the "eastern" empire.

(or 1/3 to 1/2 say; depending on what you count, & what accounting you do on the reconquered territories)

so howinthehell did the empire SHRINK BY 100,000 KM2, from 450 to 555?


Lx 121 (talk) 22:44, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

In case you can't access the cited source[1], here's what it says on the relevant page:


395 A.D. Byzantine Empire 2.1+/-.3 m,a Partition of Roman empire
450 2.8 m
486 1.6 m
527 1.9+/-.3 a,m Justian's rule starts
555 2.7 a,m Italy, N. Africa, Spain taken. Peak size


So the explanation would appear to be that the empire lost 1.2 Mm2 between 450 and 486. Can't really explain the 555 figure being referred to as the peak size though (typo?). TompaDompa (talk) 00:53, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
ok, so it looks very much like the 2.8 mil. figure is for the whole roman empire; i.e.: both "halves", in ~450, when the western empire has already lost a great deal of ground.
in which case, that number from 450 shouldn't be used without, at least, clarification; possibly not at all, unless we can "divide" it accurately.
because the eastern empire simply did not lose 1.2 mil sqkm between 450 & 486. there is nothing on the map, or in the history books, to support that.
what about using the figure from 486 instead? at that point it is clearly only the eastern empire that is being counted; as the western empire has ceased to exist. Lx 121 (talk) 08:17, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
No, the 2.8 Mm2 figure in 450 is for the eastern empire only. The following figures are given: Rome was 4.4 Mm2 in 390, Western Rome was 2.0 Mm2 in 395, and the Byzantine Empire was 2.1+/-.3 Mm2 in 395. TompaDompa (talk) 10:08, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
well, something is very wrong with these numbers; because @ maximum extent, under justinian, the eastern roman empire was VASTLY bigger than it was in 450, 486, or at any other time from the partition to its demise.
specifically justinian added about 1/3 to 1/2 of the old west roman empire onto the east roman empire (italy, dalmatia, & large bites of spain/iberia & north africa west of egypt), without losing any major territories in the east while doing so.
so there is no way it was 100,000 km2 smaller, after ALL of justinian's major conquests, than it was in 450ad. where is all this "missing"-lost territory supposed to be!?
& for that matter, where is the 1.2 MILLION sqkm the east roman empire is supposed to have "lost" between 450 & 486? when where & how did that happen exactly? because, other than very temporary changes of possession in conflicts, i really don't see the eastern empire's map changing by all that much. 1 mil. sqkm is an area the size of modern egypt[[6]]. & the article says the empire's boundaries were "fairly static" from the 450s to justinian's time.
so, something DOESN'T MAKE SENSE here. Lx 121 (talk) 12:01, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
maybe the other numbers are too small then? if the 450 number is correct? or maybe somebody screwed up converting miles & km?
I think the most likely error is a typo – that 2.8 Mm2 was supposed to be 1.8 Mm2. At any rate, the simplest solution would be to just remove the 450 figure.TompaDompa (talk) 12:11, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

So why is the 450 A.D. figure still here? What in the world did the Eastern Empire lose after 450 and before Justinian reconquered Western Roman lands? It makes no sense. If this issue is not resolved, I will delete the 450 land area. --1990'sguy (talk) 04:26, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

Nobody's responded, so I've removed the 450 AD figure. I see no way that that figure can be correct. --1990'sguy (talk) 04:44, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
The conversation above is the absolute definition of WP:ORIGINAL RESEARCH! And you MUST NOT change a figure but leave the reference intact, on the grounds that it "must be wrong". I will remove the whole dubious and disputed details from the box - these figures are frankly unimportant anyway - use a map. Johnbod (talk) 14:13, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
And you MUST NOT change a figure but leave the reference intact, on the grounds that it "must be wrong". Nobody did that. The 555 AD figure is supported by the source. What they did is removed one sourced claim (on the grounds that it "must be wrong", sure) and kept another from the same source. TompaDompa (talk) 18:58, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
You can read above for why I said "it must be wrong." I don't want to repeat the reasons why it is wrong. --1990'sguy (talk) 22:24, 17 February 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 125. doi:10.2307/1170959. JSTOR 1170959. 


The "Language" section currently reads:

Apart from the Imperial court, administration and military, the primary language used in the eastern Roman provinces even before the decline of the Western Empire was Greek, having been spoken in the region for centuries before Latin....
...Greek had become the common language of the Church, the language of scholarship and the arts, and, to a large degree, the lingua franca for trade between provinces and with other nations....

It then continues:

Many other languages existed in the multi-ethnic Empire, and some of these were given limited official status in their provinces at various times.

The first part of this statement ("the primary language...") is about the official language, whereas the second part is about the various vernaculars which obviously were spoken (and many written) continuously, even if they weren't official (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian and other Caucasian languages throughout the Byzantine period, and Slavic and Turkic in later periods; Albanian wasn't written until the 18th century, but presumably was spoken continuously). This needs to be clarified. --Macrakis (talk) 22:22, 18 April 2017 (UTC)