Principality of Theodoro
The Principality of Theodoro known as Gothia or the Principality of Theodoro-Mangup, was a Greek-speaking principality in the south-west of Crimea. It represented both the final rump-state of the Eastern Roman Empire and the last territorial vestige of the Crimean Goths until its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1475, its capital was Doros sometimes called Theodoro and now known as Mangup. The state was allied with the Empire of Trebizond. In the late 12th century the Crimean peninsula had seceded from the Byzantine Empire, but soon after the sack of Constantinople in 1204 parts of it were included in the Trebizondian Gazarian Perateia; this dependence was never strong and was replaced by the invading Mongols, who in 1238 poured into the peninsula, occupied its east and enforced a tribute on the western half, including Gothia. Apart of said tribute their influence was limited; the Principality of Gothia is first mentioned in the early 14th century, with the earliest date offered by the post-Byzantine historian Theodore Spandounes, who records the existence of a "Prince of Gothia" in the reign of Andronikos III Palaiologos.
Further references occur over the course of the 14th century, with several scholars identifying the "Dmitry", one of the three Tartar princes in the Battle of Blue Waters, with a Prince of Gothia. The name, in this case, may be the baptismal name of a Tartar lord of Mangup, named Khuitani; the name "Theodoro" appears for the first time in a Greek inscription dated to c. 1361/2, again as "Theodoro Mangop" in a Genoese document of 1374. It was suggested by A. Mercati that the form is a corruption of the Greek plural "Theodoroi", "the Theodores", meaning Saints Theodore Stratelates and Theodore Tiro, but N. Bănescu proposed the alternative explanation that it resulted from the definitive Greek name τὸ Δόρος or τὸ Δόρυ, after the early medieval name of the region. Whatever its provenance, the name stuck: by the 1420s the official titelature of the prince read "Lord of the city of Theodoro and the Maritime Region", while colloquially it was called "Theodoritsi" by its inhabitants. In 1395 the warlord Tamerlane invaded the Crimean peninsula, destroying several towns including Gothia's capital Theodoro.
After his death in 1404 Gothia grew to become one of the most significant powers of the Black Sea, profiting from a period of Genoese instability and its neglect of its Black Sea colonies, but the rise of the Crimean Khanate. In 1432 Gothia sided with Venice against Genoa due to the latter's promise to grant Gothia access to the sea; the principality had peaceful relations with the Golden Horde to its north, paying an annual tribute as vassals, but was in constant strife with Genoese Gazaria colonies to the south over access to the coasts and the trade that went through the Crimean harbours. A narrow strip of the coastal land from Yamboli in the west to Aluston in the east part of the principality soon fell under Genoese control. Local Greeks called this region Parathalassia, while under Genoese rule it was known as Captainship of Gothia. After they had lost harbours on the southern coast Theodorites built a new port called Avlita at the mouth of the Chernaya River and fortified it with the fortress of Kalamita.
On 6 June 1475, the Ottoman commander Gedik Ahmet Pasha conquered Caffa and at the end of the year, after six months of besieging Mangup, the city fell to the assailants. While much of the rest of Crimea remained part of the Crimean Khanate, now an Ottoman vassal, the former lands of Theodoro and southern Crimea were administered directly by the Sublime Porte; the historian Alexander Vasiliev identifies the first prince as Demetrios, attested at the Battle of Blue Waters in c. 1362/3. According to Vasiliev, he is to be identified with the hekatontarches Khuitani, who erected the stone inscription mentioning the name "Theodoro" on the walls of Mangup at about the same time; the princes following after Demetrios are known through Russian sources. The prince Stephen, emigrated to Moscow in 1402 along with his son Gregory, his patronymic implies the existence of a father named Basil, who preceded him as prince. Stephen and Gregory became monks, Gregory founded the Simonov Monastery in Moscow; the Russian noble families of Khovrin and Golovin claimed descent from them.
In Gothia, Stephen was succeeded by another son, Alexios I, who ruled until his death in 1444–45 or 1447. Alexios' heir was his eldest son John, married to Maria Asanina, a lady connected to the Byzantine imperial dynasty of the Palaiologoi and the noble lines of Asanes and Tzamplakon; the couple had a son named Alexios, who died young c. 1446/7 at Trebizond. His epitaph, titled "To the Prince's son", was composed by John Eugenikos and offers unique genealogical data on the family. John's reign appears to have been short, or he may indeed not have reigned at all – A. Vasiliev speculates that he left Gothia for Trebizond as soon as Alexios I died – so another son of Alexios I, succeeded as prince in c. 1447 and ruled until c. 1458. A daughter of Alexios I, Maria of Gothia, became in 1426 the first wife of the last Trapezuntine emperor, David. Olubei is no longer mentioned. 1458, no princes are known by name for some while.
Byzantine Empire under the Palaiologos dynasty
The Byzantine Empire was ruled by the Palaiologos dynasty in the period between 1261 and 1453, from the restoration of Byzantine rule to Constantinople by the usurper Michael VIII Palaiologos following its recapture from the Latin Empire, founded after the Fourth Crusade, up to the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire. Together with the preceding Nicaean Empire and the contemporary Frankokratia, this period is known as the late Byzantine Empire. From the start, the régime faced numerous problems; the Turks of Asia Minor had since 1263 been raiding and expanding into Byzantine territory in Asia Minor. Anatolia, which had formed the heart of the shrinking empire, was systematically lost to numerous Turkic ghazis, whose raids evolved into conquering expeditions inspired by Islamic zeal, the prospect of economic gain, the desire to seek refuge from the Mongols after the disastrous Battle of Köse Dağ in 1243. With a decreasing source of food and manpower, the Palaiologoi were forced to fight on several fronts, most of them being Christian states: the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Serbian Empire, the remnants of the Latin Empire and the Knights Hospitaller.
The loss of land in the east to the Turks and in the west to the Bulgarians was complemented by two disastrous civil wars, the Black Death and the 1354 earthquake at Gallipoli, whose destruction and evacuation allowed the Turks to occupy it. By 1380, the Byzantine Empire consisted of the capital Constantinople and a few other isolated exclaves, which only nominally recognized the Emperor as their lord. Nonetheless, Byzantine diplomacy coupled with the adroit exploitation of internal divisions and external threats among their enemies, above all the invasion of Anatolia by Timur, allowed Byzantium to survive until 1453; the last remnants of the Byzantine Empire, the Despotate of the Morea and the Empire of Trebizond, fell shortly afterwards. However, the Palaiologan period witnessed a renewed flourishing in art and the letters, in what has been called the "Palaiologian Renaissance"; the migration of Byzantine scholars to the West helped to spark the Italian Renaissance. Following the Fourth Crusade, the Byzantine Empire had fractured into the Greek successor-states of Nicaea and Trebizond, with a multitude of Frankish and Latin possessions occupying the remainder, nominally subject to the Latin Emperors at Constantinople.
In addition, the disintegration of the Byzantine Empire allowed the Bulgarians, the Serbs and the various Turcoman emirates of Anatolia to make gains. Although Epirus was the strongest of the three Greek states, the Nicaeans were the ones who succeeded in taking back the city of Constantinople from the Latin Empire; the Nicaean Empire was successful in holding its own against its Seljuk opponents. At the Battle of Meander Valley, a Turkic force was repelled and an earlier assault on Nicaea led to the death of the Seljuk Sultan. In the west, the Latins were unable to expand into Anatolia. In 1261, the Empire of Nicaea was ruled by a boy of ten years. However, John IV was overshadowed by Michael VIII Palaiologos. Palaiologos was a leading noble of military standing and the main figure of the regency of John IV, who had used this role to propel himself to the throne, set the stage for his becoming sole Emperor of the restored Byzantine Empire. In 1261, while the bulk of the Latin Empire's military forces were absent from Constantinople, Byzantine General Alexios Strategopoulos used the opportunity to seize the city with 600 troops.
Thrace and Thessalonica had been taken by Nicaea in 1246. Following the capture of Constantinople, Michael ordered the blinding of John IV in December 1261, so as to become sole emperor; as a result, Patriarch Arsenios excommunicated Michael, but he was deposed and replaced by Joseph I. The Fourth Crusade and their successors, the Latin Empire, had done much to reduce Byzantium's finest city to an underpopulated wreck. Michael VIII began the task of restoring public buildings and defence works; the Hagia Sophia, horribly looted in the Crusade of 1204, was refurbished to Greek Orthodox tradition. The Kontoskalion harbour and the walls of Constantinople were all strengthened against a possible new expedition by the Latin West. Many hospitals, markets, baths and churches were built, some with private patronage. A new Mosque was built to compensate for the one burnt during the Fourth Crusade; these attempts were costly and crippling taxes were placed on the peasantry. Nonetheless, the city grew new diplomatic contacts, notably with the Mamelukes.
Both had common enemies. The Sultanate of Rum was in chaos and decentralized since the Mongol invasions in ca. 1240. As a result, the greatest threat to Byzantium was not the Muslims but their Christian counterparts in the West — Michael VIII knew that the Venetians and the Franks would no doubt launch another attempt to establish Latin rule in Constantinople; the situation became worse when Charles I of Anjou conquered Sicily from the Hohenstaufens in 1266. In 1267, Pope Clement IV arranged a pact, whereby Charles would receive land in the East in return for assisting a new military expedition to Constantinople. A delay on Charles' end meant that Michael VIII was given enough time to negotiate a union between the Church of Rome and that of Constantinople in 1274, thus removing papal support for an invasion of Constantinople. For Michael VIII, the new union was seen as a fake by the Clement's successor, Martin IV; the Greek Church was excommunicated, Charles was given renewed papal support for the
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea or the Nicene Empire was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek rump states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade. Founded by the Laskaris family, it lasted from 1204 to 1261, when the Nicaeans restored the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople. In 1204, Byzantine emperor Alexios V Ducas Murtzouphlos fled Constantinople after crusaders invaded the city. Soon after, Theodore I Lascaris, the son-in-law of Emperor Alexios III Angelos, was proclaimed emperor but he too, realizing the situation in Constantinople was hopeless, fled to the city of Nicaea in Bithynia; the Latin Empire, established by the Crusaders in Constantinople, had poor control over former Byzantine territory, Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire sprang up in Epirus and Nicaea. Trebizond had broken away as an independent state a few weeks before the fall of Constantinople. Nicaea, was the closest to the Latin Empire and was in the best position to attempt to re-establish the Byzantine Empire.
Theodore Lascaris was not successful, as Henry of Flanders defeated him at Poimanenon and Prusa in 1204, but Theodore was able to capture much of northwestern Anatolia after the defeat of Latin Emperor Baldwin I in the Battle of Adrianople, Henry was recalled to Europe to defend against invasions from Kaloyan of Bulgaria. Theodore defeated an army from Trebizond, as well as other minor rivals, leaving him in charge of the most powerful of the successor states. In 1206, Theodore proclaimed. Numerous truces and alliances were formed and broken over the next few years, as the Byzantine successor states, the Latin Empire, the Bulgarians, the Seljuks of Iconium fought each other. In 1211, at Antioch on the Meander, Theodore defeated a major invasion by the Seljuks, who were backing a bid by Alexios III Angelos to return to power; the losses suffered at Antioch, led to a defeat at the hands of the Latin Empire at the Rhyndacus River and the loss of most of Mysia and the Marmara Sea coast in the subsequent Treaty of Nymphaeum.
The Nicaeans were compensated for this territorial loss when, in 1212, the death of David Komnenos allowed their annexation of his lands in Paphlagonia. Theodore consolidated his claim to the imperial throne by naming a new Patriarch of Constantinople in Nicaea. In 1219, he married the daughter of Latin Empress Yolanda of Flanders, but he died in 1222 and was succeeded by his son-in-law John III Ducas Vatatzes; the accession of Vatatzes was challenged by the Laskarids, with the sebastokratores Isaac and Alexios, brothers of Theodore I, seeking the aid of the Latin Empire. Vatatzes prevailed over their combined forces, however, in the Battle of Poimanenon, securing his throne and regaining all of the Asian territories held by the Latin Empire in the process. In 1224, the Latin Kingdom of Thessalonica was captured by the Despot of Epirus Theodore Komnenos Doukas, who crowned himself emperor in rivalry to Vatatzes and established the Empire of Thessalonica, it proved short-lived, as it came under Bulgarian control after the Battle of Klokotnitsa in 1230.
With Trebizond lacking any real power, Nicaea was the only Byzantine state left, John III expanded his territory across the Aegean Sea. In 1235, he allied with Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria, allowing him to extend his influence over Thessalonica and Epirus. In 1242, the Mongols invaded Seljuk territory to the east of Nicaea, although John III was worried they might attack him next, they ended up eliminating the Seljuk threat to Nicaea. In 1245, John allied with the Holy Roman Empire by marrying Constance II of Hohenstaufen, daughter of Frederick II. In 1246, John attacked Bulgaria and recovered most of Thrace and Macedonia, proceeded to incorporate Thessalonica into his realm. By 1248, John had surrounded the Latin Empire, he continued to take land from the Latins until his death in 1254. Theodore II Lascaris, John III's son, faced invasions from the Bulgarians in Thrace, but defended the territory. A conflict between Nicaea and Epirus broke out in 1257. Epirus allied with Manfred of Sicily when Theodore II died in 1258.
John IV Lascaris succeeded him, but as he was still a child he was under the regency of the general Michael Palaeologus. Michael proclaimed himself co-emperor in 1259, soon defeated a combined invasion by Manfred, the Despot of Epirus, the Latin Prince of Achaea at the Battle of Pelagonia. In 1260, Michael began the assault on Constantinople itself, which his predecessors had been unable to do, he allied with Genoa, his general Alexios Strategopoulos spent months observing Constantinople in order to plan his attack. In July 1261, as most of the Latin army was fighting elsewhere, Alexius was able to convince the guards to open the gates of the city. Once inside he burned the Venetian quarter. Michael was recognized as emperor a few weeks restoring the Byzantine Empire. Achaea was soon recaptured; the restored empire faced a new threat from the Ottomans, when they arose to replace the Seljuks. After 1261, Constantinople once more became the capital of the Byzantine Empire; the territories of the former Empire of Nicaea were stripped of their wealth, used to rebuild Constantinople and to fund numerous wars in Europe against the Latin states and Epirus.
Soldiers were transferred from Asia Minor to Europe, leaving the old frontier undefended. Raids by Turkish ghazis were
A tribute is wealth in kind, that a party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states exacted tribute from the rulers of land which the state conquered or otherwise threatened to conquer. In case of alliances, lesser parties may pay tribute to more powerful parties as a sign of allegiance and in order to finance projects that would benefit both parties. To be called "tribute" a recognition by the payer of political submission to the payee is required. Payments by a superior political entity to an inferior one, made for various purposes, are described by terms including "subsidy"; the ancient Persian Achaemenid Empire is an example of an ancient tribute empire. However, failure to keep up the payments had dire consequences; the reliefs at Persepolis show processions of figures bearing varied types of tribute. The medieval Mongol rulers of Russia expected only tribute from the Russian states, which continued to govern themselves.
Athens received tribute from the other cities of the Delian League. The empires of Assyria, Babylon and Rome exacted tribute from their provinces and subject kingdoms. Ancient China received tribute from various states such as Japan, Vietnam, Borneo, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Central Asia; the Aztec Empire is another example. The Roman republic exacted tribute in the form of payments equivalent to proportional property taxes, for the purpose of waging war. Tribute empires contrast with those like the Roman Empire, which more controlled and garrisoned subject territories. A tributary state is one that preserves its political position and such independence as it has only by paying tribute. Although, Roman Republic and Roman Empire sometimes controlled client kingdoms providing it with tribute. In ancient China, the tribute system provided an administrative means to control their interests, as well as providing exclusive trading priorities to those who paid tribute from foreign regions, it was an integral part of the Confucian philosophy, seen by the Chinese as equivalent to younger sons looking after older parents by devoting part of their wealth, assets or goods to that purpose.
Political marriages have existed between the Chinese empire and tribute states, such as Songtsen Gampo and Wencheng. China received tribute from the states under the influence of Confucian civilization and gave them Chinese products and recognition of their authority and sovereignty in return. There were several tribute states to the Chinese-established empires throughout ancient history, including neighboring countries such as Japan, Vietnam, Borneo and Central Asia; this tributary system and relationship are well known as Jimi or Cefeng, or Chaogong. In Japanese, the tributary system and relationship is referred to as Shinkou and Choukou. According to the Chinese Book of Han, the various tribes of Japan had entered into tributary relationships with China by the first century. However, Japan ceased to present tribute to China and left the tributary system during the Heian period without damaging economic ties. Although Japan returned to the tributary system during the Muromachi period in the reign of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, it did not recommence presenting tribute.
According to the Korean historical document Samguk Sagi, Goguryeo sent a diplomatic representative to the Han dynasty in 32 AD, Emperor Guangwu of Han acknowledged Goguryeo with a title. The tributary relationship between China and Korea was established during the Three Kingdoms of Korea, but in practice it was only a diplomatic formality to strengthen legitimacy and gain access to cultural goods from China; this continued under different dynasties and varying degrees until China's defeat in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. The relationship between China and Vietnam was a "hierarchic tributary system". China ended its suzerainty over Vietnam with the Treaty of Tientsin following the Sino-French War. Thailand was always subordinate to China as a vassal or a tributary state since the Sui dynasty until the Taiping Rebellion of the late Qing dynasty in the mid-19th century; some tributaries of imperial China encompasses suzerain kingdoms from China in East Asia has been prepared. Before the 20th century, the geopolitics of East and Southeast Asia were influenced by the Chinese tributary system.
This assured them their sovereignty and the system assured China the incoming of certain valuable assets. "The theoretical justification" for this exchange was the Mandate of Heaven, that stated the fact that the Emperor of China was empowered by the heavens to rule, with this rule the whole mankind would end up being beneficiary of good deeds. Most of the Asian countries joined this system voluntary. There is a clear differentiation between the term "tribute" and "gift." The former, known as gong, has important connotations. The Chinese emperors made sure that the gifts they paid to other states were known as mere gifts, not tributes. At times when a Chinese dynasty had to bribe nomads from raiding their border such as in the Han Dynasty and the Song Dynasty, the emperors gave "gifts" to the Xiongn
There were a Theodosius II of Abkhazia, a Patriarch Theodosius II of Alexandria and a Theodosius II of Constantinople. Additionally, Pope Theodoros I of Alexandria is known as Theodosius II in Coptic history. Theodosius II surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was the Eastern Roman Emperor for most of his life, taking the throne as an infant in 402 and ruling as the Eastern Empire's sole emperor after the death of his father Arcadius in 408, he is known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople. He presided over the outbreak of two great Christological controversies and Eutychianism. Theodosius was born in 401 as the only son of Emperor Arcadius and his Frankish-born wife Aelia Eudoxia. In January 402 he was proclaimed co-Augustus by his father, thus becoming the youngest person to bear this title in Roman history. In 408, his father died and the seven-year-old boy became Emperor of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire.
According to Procopius, the Sasanian king Yazdegerd I was appointed by Arcadius as the guardian of Theodosius, whom Yazdegerd treated as his own child, sending a tutor to raise him and warning that enmity toward him would be taken as enmity toward Persia. Government was at first by the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius, under whose supervision the Theodosian land walls of Constantinople were constructed. In 414, Theodosius' older sister Pulcheria was assumed the regency. By 416 Theodosius was declared Augustus in his own right and the regency ended, but his sister remained a strong influence on him. In June 421, Theodosius married a woman of Greek origin; the two had a daughter named Licinia Eudoxia. A separation occurred between the imperial couple, with Eudocia's establishment in Jerusalem where she favoured monastic Monophysitism and Pulcheria reassuming an influential role with the support of the eunuch Chrysaphius. Theodosius' increasing interest in Christianity, fuelled by the influence of Pulcheria, led him to go to war against the Sassanids, who were persecuting Christians.
In 423, the Western Emperor Honorius, Theodosius' uncle and the primicerius notariorum Joannes was proclaimed Emperor. Honorius' sister Galla Placidia and her young son Valentinian fled to Constantinople to seek Eastern assistance and after some deliberation in 424 Theodosius opened the war against Joannes. On 23 October 425, Valentinian III was installed as Emperor of the West with the assistance of the magister officiorum Helion, with his mother acting as regent. To strengthen the ties between the two parts of the Empire, Theodosius' daughter Licinia Eudoxia was betrothed to Valentinian. In 425, Theodosius founded the University of Constantinople with 31 chairs. Among the subjects were law, medicine, geometry, astronomy and rhetoric. In 429, Theodosius appointed a commission to collect all of the laws since the reign of Constantine I, create a formalized system of law; this plan was left unfinished, but the work of a second commission that met in Constantinople, assigned to collect all of the general legislations and bring them up to date, was completed.
The law code of Theodosius II, summarizing edicts promulgated since Constantine, formed a basis for the law code of Emperor Justinian I, the Corpus Juris Civilis, in the following century. The war with Persia proved indecisive, a peace was arranged in 422 without changes to the status quo; the wars of Theodosius were less successful. The Eastern Empire was plagued by raids by the Huns. Early in Theodosius II's reign Romans used internal Hun discord to overcome Uldin's invasion of the Balkans; the Romans strengthened their fortifications and in 424 agreed to pay 350 pounds of gold to encourage the Huns to remain at peace with the Romans. In 433 with the rise of Attila and Bleda to unify the Huns, the payment was doubled to 700 pounds; when Roman Africa fell to the Vandals in 439, both Eastern and Western Emperors sent forces to Sicily, intending to launch an attack on the Vandals at Carthage, but this project failed. Seeing the Imperial borders without significant forces, the Huns and Sassanid Persia both attacked and the expeditionary force had to be recalled.
During 443 two Roman armies were destroyed by the Huns. Anatolius negotiated a peace agreement. In 447 the Huns went through the Balkans, destroying among others the city of Serdica and reaching Athyra on the outskirts of Constantinople. During a visit to Syria, Theodosius met the monk Nestorius, a renowned preacher, he appointed Nestorius Archbishop of Constantinople in 428. Nestorius became involved in the disputes of two theological factions, which differed in their Christology. Nestorius tried to find a middle ground between those who, emphasizing the fact that in Christ God had been born as a man, insisted on calling the Virgin Mary Theotokos, those who rejected that title because God, as an eternal being, could not have been born. Nestorius suggested the title Christotokos as a compromise, but it did not find acceptance with either faction, he was accused of separating Christ's divine and human natures, resulting in "two Christs", a heresy called Nestorianism. Though initial
History of the Byzantine Empire
This history of the Byzantine Empire covers the history of the Eastern Roman Empire from late antiquity until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD. Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the transitional period during which the Roman Empire's east and west divided. In 285, the emperor Diocletian partitioned the Roman Empire's administration into eastern and western halves. Between 324 and 330, Constantine I transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium known as Constantinople and Nova Roma. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and others such as Roman polytheism were proscribed, and under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use instead of Latin. Thus, although it continued the Roman state and maintained Roman state traditions, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Orthodox Christianity rather than Roman polytheism.
The borders of the Empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the Empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including north Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries. During the reign of Maurice, the Empire's eastern frontier was expanded and the north stabilised. However, his assassination caused a two-decade-long war with Sassanid Persia which exhausted the Empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. In a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arabs. During the Macedonian dynasty, the Empire again expanded and experienced a two-century long renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071; this battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia as a homeland.
The final centuries of the Empire exhibited a general trend of decline. It struggled to recover during the 12th century, but was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked and the Empire dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople and re-establishment of the Empire in 1261, Byzantium remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Roman Empire. During the 3rd century, three crises threatened the Roman Empire: external invasions, internal civil wars and an economy riddled with weaknesses and problems; the city of Rome became less important as an administrative centre. The crisis of the 3rd century displayed the defects of the heterogeneous system of government that Augustus had established to administer his immense dominion.
His successors had introduced some modifications, but events made it clearer that a new, more centralized and more uniform system was required. Diocletian was responsible for creating a new administrative system, he associated himself with Augustus. Each Augustus was to adopt a young colleague, or Caesar, to share in the rule and to succeed the senior partner. After the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, the tetrachy collapsed, Constantine I replaced it with the dynastic principle of hereditary succession. Constantine moved the seat of the Empire, introduced important changes into its civil and religious constitution. In 330, he founded Constantinople as a second Rome on the site of Byzantium, well-positioned astride the trade routes between East and West. Constantine began the building of the great fortified walls, which were expanded and rebuilt in subsequent ages. J. B. Bury asserts that "the foundation of Constantinople inaugurated a permanent division between the Eastern and Western, the Greek and the Latin, halves of the Empire—a division to which events had pointed—and affected decisively the whole subsequent history of Europe."Constantine built upon the administrative reforms introduced by Diocletian.
He stabilized the coinage, made changes to the structure of the army. Under Constantine, the Empire had recovered much of its military strength and enjoyed a period of stability and prosperity, he reconquered southern parts of Dacia, after defeating the Visigoths in 332, he was planning a campaign against Sassanid Persia as well. To divide administrative responsibilities, Constantine replaced the single praetorian prefect, who had traditionally exercised both military and civil functions, with regional prefects enjoying civil authority alone. In the course of the 4th century, four great sections emerged from these Constantinian beginnings, the practice of separating civil from military authority persisted until the 7th century. Constantine the Great inaugurated the Constantine's Bridge at Sucidava, in 328, in order to reconquer Dacia, a province, abandoned under Aurelian, he won a victory in the war and extended his control over the South Dacia, as remains of camps and fortifications in the region indicate.
Under Constantine, Christianity
Byzantine art refers to the body of Christian Greek artistic products of the Eastern Roman Empire, as well as the nations and states that inherited culturally from the empire. Though the empire itself emerged from the decline of Rome and lasted until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the start date of the Byzantine period is rather clearer in art history than in political history, if still imprecise. Many Eastern Orthodox states in Eastern Europe, as well as to some degree the Muslim states of the eastern Mediterranean, preserved many aspects of the empire's culture and art for centuries afterward. A number of states contemporary with the Byzantine Empire were culturally influenced by it, without being part of it; these included the Rus, as well as some non-Orthodox states like the Republic of Venice, which separated from the Byzantine empire in the 10th century, the Kingdom of Sicily, which had close ties to the Byzantine Empire and had been a Byzantine possession until the 10th century with a large Greek-speaking population persisting into the 12th century.
Other states having a Byzantine artistic tradition had oscillated throughout the Middle Ages between being part of the Byzantine empire and having periods of independence, such as Serbia and Bulgaria. After the fall of the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in 1453, art produced by Eastern Orthodox Christians living in the Ottoman Empire was called "post-Byzantine." Certain artistic traditions that originated in the Byzantine Empire in regard to icon painting and church architecture, are maintained in Greece, Serbia, Romania and other Eastern Orthodox countries to the present day. Byzantine art originated and evolved from the Christianized Greek culture of the Eastern Roman Empire; the art of Byzantium never lost sight of its classical heritage. The basis of Byzantine art is a fundamental artistic attitude held by the Byzantine Greeks who, like their ancient Greek predecessors, "were never satisfied with a play of forms alone, but stimulated by an innate rationalism, endowed forms with life by associating them with a meaningful content."
Although the art produced in the Byzantine Empire was marked by periodic revivals of a classical aesthetic, it was above all marked by the development of a new aesthetic defined by its salient "abstract", or anti-naturalistic character. If classical art was marked by the attempt to create representations that mimicked reality as as possible, Byzantine art seems to have abandoned this attempt in favor of a more symbolic approach; the nature and causes of this transformation, which took place during late antiquity, have been a subject of scholarly debate for centuries. Giorgio Vasari attributed it to a decline in artistic skills and standards, which had in turn been revived by his contemporaries in the Italian Renaissance. Although this point of view has been revived, most notably by Bernard Berenson, modern scholars tend to take a more positive view of the Byzantine aesthetic. Alois Riegl and Josef Strzygowski, writing in the early 20th century, were above all responsible for the revaluation of late antique art.
Riegl saw it as a natural development of pre-existing tendencies in Roman art, whereas Strzygowski viewed it as a product of "oriental" influences. Notable recent contributions to the debate include those of Ernst Kitzinger, who traced a "dialectic" between "abstract" and "Hellenistic" tendencies in late antiquity, John Onians, who saw an "increase in visual response" in late antiquity, through which a viewer "could look at something, in twentieth-century terms purely abstract and find it representational." In any case, the debate is purely modern: it is clear that most Byzantine viewers did not consider their art to be abstract or unnaturalistic. As Cyril Mango has observed, "our own appreciation of Byzantine art stems from the fact that this art is not naturalistic; the subject matter of monumental Byzantine art was religious and imperial: the two themes are combined, as in the portraits of Byzantine emperors that decorated the interior of the sixth-century church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
These preoccupations are a result of the pious and autocratic nature of Byzantine society, a result of its economic structure: the wealth of the empire was concentrated in the hands of the church and the imperial office, which had the greatest opportunity to undertake monumental artistic commissions. Religious art was not, limited to the monumental decoration of church interiors. One of the most important genres of Byzantine art was the icon, an image of Christ, the Virgin, or a saint, used as an object of veneration in Orthodox churches and private homes alike. Icons were more religious than aesthetic in nature: after the end of iconoclasm, they were understood to manifest the unique "presence" of the figure depicted by means of a "likeness" to that figure maintained through maintained canons of representation; the illumination of manuscripts was another major genre of Byzantine art. The most illustrated texts were religious, both scripture itself (pa