Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian I's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, lost less than a century before. One of the defining features of Belisarius's career was his success despite varying levels of support from Justinian, his name is given as one of the so-called "Last of the Romans". Belisarius is considered a military genius who conquered the Vandal Kingdom of North Africa in the Vandalic War in nine months from July 533 to March 534, he defeated the Vandal armies at the battles of Ad Decimum and Tricamarum and compelled the Vandal king Gelimer to surrender. After the conquest of North Africa, Belisarius took over most of Italy from the Ostrogothic Kingdom in a series of sieges between 535 and 540 during the Gothic War. Belisarius was born in Germane or Germania, a fortified town of which some archaeological remains still exist, on the site of present-day Sapareva Banya in south-west Bulgaria, within the borders of Thrace and Paeonia, or in Germen, a town in Thrace near Adrianople, in present-day Turkey.
Born into an Illyrian or Thracian family that spoke Latin as a mother tongue, he became a Roman soldier as a young man, serving in the bodyguard of Emperor Justin I. He came to his nephew, Justinian, as a promising and innovative officer, he was given permission by the emperor to form a bodyguard regiment, of heavy cavalry, which he expanded into a personal household regiment, 1,500 strong. Belisarius's bucellarii were the nucleus around which all the armies he would command were organized. Armed with a lance, composite bow, spatha, they were armoured to the standard of heavy cavalry of the day. A multi-purpose unit, the bucellarii were capable of shooting at a distance with bow, like the Huns, or could act as heavy shock cavalry, charging an enemy with lance and sword. In essence, they combined the best and most dangerous aspects of both of Rome's greatest enemies, the Huns and the Goths. Following Justin's death in 527, the new emperor, Justinian I, appointed Belisarius to command the Roman army in the east to deal with incursions from the Sassanid Empire.
He proved himself an able and effective commander, defeating the larger Sassanid army through superior generalship. In June/July 530, during the Iberian War, he led the Romans to a stunning victory over the Sassanids in the Battle of Dara, followed by a tactical defeat at the Battle of Callinicum on the Euphrates in 531—this was a strategic victory in that the Persians retreated to their own borders; this led to the negotiation of an "Eternal Peace" with the Persians, Roman payment of heavy tributes for years in exchange for peace with Persia, freeing resources for redeployment elsewhere. In 532, he was the highest-ranking military officer in the Imperial capital of Constantinople when the Nika riots broke out in the city and nearly resulted in the overthrow of Justinian. Belisarius sought the help of Mundus, the magister militum of Illyricum, Narses, a eunuch and general, his friend John the Armenian. Together, they suppressed the rebellion, turning the rebels who had gathered in the Hippodrome against each other, by bribing one group to depart in peace and massacring the remainder, by some accounts as many as 30,000 people.
For his efforts, Belisarius was rewarded by Justinian with the command of a land and sea expedition against the Vandal Kingdom, mounted in 533–534. The Romans had political and strategic reasons for such a campaign; the pro-Roman Vandal king Hilderic had been deposed and murdered by the usurper Gelimer, giving Justinian a legal pretext. The Arian Vandals had periodically persecuted the Nicene Christians within their kingdom, many of whom made their way to Constantinople seeking redress; the Vandals had launched many pirate raids on Roman trade interests, hurting commerce in the western areas of the Empire. Justinian wanted control of the Vandal territory in north Africa, one of the wealthiest provinces and the breadbasket of the Western Roman Empire and was now vital for guaranteeing Roman access to the western Mediterranean. In the late summer of 533, Belisarius landed near Caput Vada, he ordered his fleet not to lose sight of the army marched along the coastal highway toward the Vandal capital of Carthage.
He did this to prevent supplies from being cut off and to avoid a great defeat such as occurred during the attempt by Basiliscus to retake northern Africa 65 years before, which had ended in the Roman disaster at the Battle of Cap Bon in 468. Gelimer had planned to ambush and encircle the Romans along with a force under his brother Ammatas and 2,000 men under his nephew Gibamund; the three attacks were not properly synchronized, however, so that Ammatas and Gibamund's forces were defeated before the forces of Gelimer met Belisarius ten miles from Carthage at the Battle of Ad Decimum on September 13, 533. Despite his bold plan, Gelimer's forces were outnumbered and surprised and disorganised for the positioning of Belisarius' main force, leading to Belisarius routing Gelimer and the remains of his army off the field. With this victory, Belisarius soon took Carthage. A second victory at the Battle of Tricamarum on December 15 resulted in Gelimer's surrender early in 534 at Mount Papua, restoring the lost Roman provinces of north Africa to the empire.
For this achievement, Belisarius was granted a triumph. According to Procopius, the spoils of the Temple of Jerusalem, including many obj
Chancellor is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers, who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the audience. A chancellor's office is called a chancery; the word is now used in the titles of many various officers in all kinds of settings. Nowadays the term is most used to describe: The head of the government A person in charge of foreign affairs A person with duties related to justice A person in charge of financial and economic issues The head of a university The Chancellor of Austria, denominated Bundeskanzler for males and Bundeskanzlerin for females, is the title of the head of the Government of Austria. Sebastian Kurz is the incumbent Bundeskanzler of Austria. Chancellor or Grand Chancellor is the common translation of the Chinese title chengxiang or zaixiang, which in imperial China was the head of the government serving under the emperor.
The Chancellor of Germany or Bundeskanzler, is the title for the head of government in Germany. Bundeskanzlerin is the feminine form. In German politics, the Bundeskanzler position is equivalent to that of a prime minister and is elected by the Bundestag, every four years on the beginning of the electoral period after general elections. Between general elections, the Federal Chancellor can only be removed from office by a konstruktives Misstrauensvotum which consists in the candidacy of an opposition candidate for the office of Chancellor in the Bundestag. If this candidate gets a majority of the entire membership of the Bundestag, he or she will be sworn in as new Federal Chancellor; the current German Bundeskanzlerin is Angela Merkel of the CDU. The former German Empire, the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany had the equivalent position of Reichskanzler, as the head of the executive. Between 1871 and 1918 the Chancellor was appointed by the German Emperor. During the Weimar Republic, the Chancellor was chosen by the Reichspräsident and stood under his authority.
This continued during the first two years of the Nazi regime until the death of President Paul von Hindenburg in 1934. Between 1934 and 1945 Adolf Hitler, the dictatorial head of state and government of Nazi Germany was called "Führer und Reichskanzler". In Switzerland, the Federal Chancellor is not the political head of government, but rather its administrative head as the Chief of Staff of the Swiss Federal Government, he or she is elected by the Swiss Federal Assembly to head the Federal Chancellery — the general staff of the seven-member executive Federal Council, the Swiss federal government. The Chancellor participates in the meetings of the seven Federal Councilors with a consultative vote and prepares the reports on policy and activities of the council to parliament; the chancellery is responsible for the publication of all federal laws. In most Swiss Cantons there is a State Chancellor who heads the central administrative unit of the cantonal government. In the Canton of Geneva, the first documents attesting to the existence of a Chancellor go back to the 12th century.
In the 16th century the Chancery is described as the permanent secretariat of the executive and legislature. The first of these functions still constitutes an important part of its activities in Geneva and other cantons. In the Canton of Berne, the Chancellor is elected by the Grand Council and has the task of supporting the Grand Council and the Executive Council in carrying out their tasks; the Chancellor directs the staff of the Executive Council, supports the President of the Government and the Executive Council in the performance of their duties, participates as an advisor to the President of the Grand Council in Grand Council sessions. In Latin America, the equivalents to "chancellor" are used to refer to the post of foreign minister, it is used as a synonym to the full titles of the ministers of foreign affairs, notably in Mexico it relates to the position of head of the ministry of foreign affairs. The ministry of foreign affairs in Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas is referred to as the Cancillería or in Portuguese-speaking Brazil as Chancelaria.
However, in Spain the term canciller refers to a civil servant in the Spanish diplomatic service responsible for technical issues relating to foreign affairs. As to the German foreign service the term Kanzler refers to the administrative head of a diplomatic mission. In Finland the Chancellor of Justice supervises the legality of actions taken by the government and monitors the implementation of basic civil liberties. In this special function the chancellor sits in the Finnish Cabinet, the Finnish Council of State. In Sweden the Chancellor of Justice or Justitiekanslern acts as the Solicitor General for the Swedish Government; the office was introduced by Charles XII of Sweden in 1713. There was a Lord High Chancellor or Rikskansler as the most senior member of the Privy Council of Sweden. Ther
The Vandals were a large East Germanic tribe or group of tribes that first appear in history inhabiting present-day southern Poland. Some moved in large numbers, including most notably the group which successively established kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa in the 5th century; the traditional view has been that the Vandals migrated from southern Scandinavia to the area between the lower Oder and Vistula rivers during the 2nd century BC and settled in Silesia from around 120 BC. They are associated with the Przeworsk culture and were the same people as the Lugii. Expanding into Dacia during the Marcomannic Wars and to Pannonia during the Crisis of the Third Century, the Vandals were confined to Pannonia by the Goths around 330 AD, where they received permission to settle from Constantine the Great. Around 400, raids by the Huns forced many Germanic tribes to migrate into the territory of the Roman Empire, fearing that they might be targeted next the Vandals were pushed westwards, crossing the Rhine into Gaul along with other tribes in 406.
In 409 the Vandals crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, where their main groups, the Hasdingi and the Silingi, settled in Gallaecia and Baetica respectively. After the Visigoths invaded Iberia in 418, the Iranian Alans and Silingi Vandals voluntarily subjected themselves to the rule of Hasdingian leader Gunderic, pushed from Gallaecia to Baetica by a Roman-Suebi coalition in 419. In 429, under king Genseric, the Vandals entered North Africa. By 439 they established a kingdom which included the Roman province of Africa as well as Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands, they fended off several Roman attempts to recapture the African province, sacked the city of Rome in 455. Their kingdom collapsed in the Vandalic War of 533–4, in which Emperor Justinian I's forces reconquered the province for the Eastern Roman Empire. Renaissance and early-modern writers characterized the Vandals as barbarians, "sacking and looting" Rome; this led to the use of the term "vandalism" to describe any pointless destruction the "barbarian" defacing of artwork.
However, modern historians tend to regard the Vandals during the transitional period from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages as perpetuators, not destroyers, of Roman culture. The name of the Vandals has been connected to that of Vendel, the name of a province in Uppland, eponymous of the Vendel Period of Swedish prehistory, corresponding to the late Germanic Iron Age leading up to the Viking Age; the connection would be that Vendel is the original homeland of the Vandals prior to the Migration Period, retains their tribal name as a toponym. Further possible homelands of the Vandals in Scandinavia are Vendsyssel in Denmark and Hallingdal in Norway; the etymology of the name may be related to a Germanic verb *wand- "to wander". The Germanic mythological figure of Aurvandil "shining wanderer. R. Much has forwarded the theory that the tribal name Vandal reflects worship of Aurvandil or "the Dioscuri" involving an origin myth that the Vandalic kings were descended from Aurvandil; some medieval authors applied the ethnonym "Vandals" to Slavs: Veneti, Lusatians or Poles.
It was once thought that the Slovenes were the descendants of the Vandals, but this is not the view of modern scholars. Both Jordanes in his Getica and the Gotlandic Gutasaga tell that the Goths and Vandals migrated from southern Scandinavia to the area between the lower Oder and Vistula prior to the 2nd century BC, settled in Silesia from around 120 BC; the earliest mention of the Vandals is from Pliny the Elder, who used the term Vandilii in a broad way to define one of the major groupings of all Germanic peoples. Tribes within this category who he mentions are the Burgundiones, Varini and the Gutones. According to the Gallaecian Christian priest and theologian Paulus Orosius, the Vandals, who lived in Scoringa, near Stockholm, were of the same stock as the Suiones and the Goths; the Vandals are associated with the Przeworsk culture, but the culture extended over several eastern European peoples. Their origin and linguistic affiliation are debated; the bearers of the Przeworsk culture practiced cremation and inhumation.
The Lugii are identified by modern historians as the same people as the Vandals. The Lugii are mentioned by Strabo and Ptolemy as a large group of tribes between the Vistula and the Oder. None of those authors mentions the Vandals, while Pliny the Elder mentions the Vandals but not the Lugii. According to John Anderson, the "Lugii and Vandili are designations of the same tribal group, the latter an extended ethnic name, the former a cult-title." Herwig Wolfram notes that "In all likelihood the Lugians and the Vandals were one cultic community that lived in the same region of the Oder in Silesia, where it was first under Celtic and under Germanic domination." By the end of the 2nd century, the Vandals were divided in two main tribal groups, the Silingi and the Hasdingi, with the Silingi being associated with Silesia and the Hasdingi living in the Sudetes. Around the mid 2nd century AD, there was a significant migration by Germanic tribes of Scandinavian origin towards the south-east, creating turmoil along the entire Roman frontier.
The 6th century Byzantine historian Procopius noted that the Goths and Vandals were ph
Constantine VIII was the Byzantine Emperor from 15 December 1025 until his death in 1028. He was the son of Emperor Romanos Empress Theophano, he was nominal co-emperor for 63 years from 962, successively with his father, his stepfather Nikephoros II Phokas, his uncle John I Tzimiskes, his elder brother Basil II. Basil II died childless in 1025 and thus left the rule of the Byzantine Empire in Constantine's hands. Constantine had no interest in statecraft or the military, his brief reign is said to have been "an unmitigated disaster", sparking "a collapse of the military power of the Empire". Constantine's father, Romanos II, was the sixth Byzantine emperor of the Macedonian dynasty. After the death of his first wife, daughter of Hugh of Arles, he fell in love with and married an innkeeper's daughter from the Peloponnese, Theophano. Contemporaries called Theophano the most beautiful woman in Christendom as well as ambitious, an inveterate schemer and utterly amoral, she bore Romanos four children, including Constantine, born in 960, his elder brother Basil, born in 958.
His sister Anna's hand was considered such a prize that Vladimir I of Kiev converted to Christianity in order to marry her. Aged eight, Constantine was engaged to a daughter of Emperor Boris II of Bulgaria but in the end he married a Byzantine aristocrat named Helena, daughter of Alypius. By Helena he had three daughters: Eudokia. Romanos died in amidst rumours that Theophano had poisoned him. Constantine and his brother had been crowned co-emperors by their father in March 962; the widowed Theophano installed herself as regent for her sons and promptly purged the imperial government, appointing her own men. Passing over a bevy of suitors among Constantinople's courtiers, she made an alliance with Nikephoros Phokas. Nikephoros, a physically repulsive ascetic twice her age, was the greatest military hero of the Empire. In return for her hand, the childless Nikephoros gave his sacred pledge to protect her children and their interests. Nikephoros entered Constantinople three months after Romanos' death, breaking the resistance of Joseph Bringas, a eunuch palace official, Romanos' chief counsellor, in street fighting.
Nikephoros was crowned emperor in the presence of his nominal co-emperors and Basil. A month he married their mother. Six years Nikephoros was murdered at Theophano's instigation and her lover and co-conspirator John Tzimiskes was acclaimed emperor. Tzimiskes proposed to marry Theophano but the Empress had by been too damaged by gossip and rumours, many of them accurate. Patriarch Polyeuktos refused to perform the coronation unless Tzimiskes removed the "scarlet empress" from the court. Tzimiskes calculated that his legitimacy would be better enhanced by church approval than betrothal to the unpopular empress and acceded to the Patriarch's demands. Theophano was sent into exile and Tzimiskes was crowned, again with Constantine and Basil as co-emperors, he married Constantine's aunt. Following the death of Tzimiskes in January 976, Basil and Constantine took power. Although the sixteen year old Constantine was nominally co-emperor it was clear that Basil was senior emperor as Basileus Basil II. Constantine as a young man was tall and graceful, he was a superb horseman and trained his own horses.
He competed in athletic and wrestling competitions. He had a good grasp of rhetoric, he was a gourmand. He never developed any. Constantine led troops alongside his brother in 989. Basil II had an illustrious reign, earning the sobriquet "Bulgar-slayer", he died childless on 15 December 1025 and Constantine, a sixty-five-year-old widower, became sole emperor as Constantine VIII. He had been a co-emperor for sixty-three years but had always been content to enjoy the privileges of imperial status, without concerning himself with state affairs, he spent his life in the search of pleasure and entertainment, or amusing himself with riding and hunting. He was "of frivolous disposition, he desired nothing more than to pass his life wallowing in extravagant pleasures." Constantine as emperor carried on as he always had – hunting and enjoying life – and avoided state business as much as possible. By the time he became emperor he could hardly walk, he met challenges with persecuting the nobility and ordering an orgy of torture.
He filled the senior state positions with nonentities. Within months the land laws of Basil II were dropped, under pressure from the Anatolian aristocracy. "Devoid of any semblance of moral fibre" he would grant any concession. Favouritism failed to win him friends and he persecuted the nobility when he felt threatened by conspiracy; the start of the decline of the Byzantine Empire has been linked to Constantine's accession to the throne. His reign has been described as "an unmitigated disaster", "a break up of the system" and causing "a collapse of the military power of the Empire", he ruled for less than three years before his death on 11 November 1028. On his deathbed, without a male heir, Constantine recalled the senior aristocrat Constantine Dalessenos, Duke of Antioch, to the capital in order to marry his oldest daughter Zoë; the Dalassenus were one of the few powerful patrician
Jin dynasty (1115–1234)
The Jin dynasty known as the Great Jin, lasted from 1115 to 1234 as one of the last dynasties in Chinese history to predate the Mongol invasion of China. Its name is sometimes written as Kin, Jurchen Jin or Jinn in English to differentiate it from an earlier Jìn dynasty of China whose name is identical when transcribed without tone marker diacritics in the Hanyu Pinyin system for Standard Chinese, it is sometimes called the "Jurchen dynasty" or the "Jurchen Jin", because its founding leader Aguda was of Wanyan Jurchen descent. The Jin emerged from Taizu's rebellion against the Liao dynasty, which held sway over northern China until the nascent Jin drove the Liao to the Western Regions, where they became known as the Western Liao. After vanquishing the Liao, the Jin launched an over hundred-year struggles against the Chinese Song dynasty, based in southern China. Over the course of their rule, the Jurchens of Jin adapted to Chinese customs, fortified the Great Wall against the rising Mongols.
Domestically, the Jin oversaw a number of cultural advancements, such as the revival of Confucianism. The Mongols invaded the Jin under Genghis Khan in 1211 and inflicted catastrophic defeats on their armies. Though the Jin seemed to suffer a never-ending wave of defeats, revolts and coups, they proved to have tenacity; the Jin succumbed to Mongol conquest 23 years in 1234. The Jin dynasty was known as the "Great Jin" at that time. Furthermore, the Jin emperors referred to their state as Zhongguo like some other non-Han dynasties. Non-Han rulers expanded the definition of "China" to include non-Han peoples in addition to Han people whenever they ruled China. Jin documents indicate that the usage of "China" by dynasties to refer to themselves began earlier than thought; the Jin dynasty was created in modern Jilin and Heilongjiang by the Jurchen tribal chieftain Aguda in 1115. According to tradition, Aguda was a descendant of Hanpu. Aguda adopted the term for "gold" as the name of his state, itself a translation of "Anchuhu" River, which meant "golden" in Jurchen.
This river known as Alachuke in Chinese, was a tributary of the Songhua River east of Harbin. The Jurchens' early rival was the Khitan-led Liao dynasty, which had held sway over modern north and northeast China and Mongolia, for several centuries. In 1121, the Jurchens entered into the Alliance Conducted at Sea with the Han Chinese-led Northern Song dynasty and agreed to jointly invade the Liao dynasty. While the Song armies faltered, the Jurchens succeeded in driving the Liao to Central Asia. In 1125, after the death of Aguda, the Jin dynasty broke its alliance with the Song dynasty and invaded north China; when the Song dynasty reclaimed the southern part of the Liao where Han Chinese lived, they were "fiercely resisted" by the Han Chinese population there, under Liao rule, while when the Jurchens invaded that area, the Han Chinese did not oppose them at all and handed over the Southern Capital to them. The Jurchens were supported by the Beijing-based noble Han clans; the Han Chinese who worked for the Liao were viewed as hostile enemies by the Song dynasty.
Song Han Chinese defected to the Jin. One crucial mistake that the Song made during this joint attack was the removal of the defensive forest it built along the Song-Liao border; because of the removal of this landscape barrier, in 1126/27, the Jin army marched across the North China Plain to Bianjing. On 9 January 1127, the Jurchens ransacked Kaifeng, the capital of the Northern Song dynasty, capturing both Emperor Qinzong and his father, Emperor Huizong, who had abdicated in panic in the face of the Jin invasion. Following the fall of Bianjing, the succeeding Southern Song dynasty continued to fight the Jin dynasty for over a decade signing the Treaty of Shaoxing in 1141, which called for the cession of all Song territories north of the Huai River to the Jin dynasty and the execution of Song general Yue Fei in return for peace; the peace treaty was formally ratified on 11 October 1142. Having conquered Kaifeng and occupied North China, the Jin deliberately chose earth as its dynastic element and yellow as its royal color.
According to the theory of the Five Elements, the earth element follows the fire, the dynastic element of the Song, in the sequence of elemental creation. Therefore, this ideological move shows that the Jin regarded the Song reign of China was over and themselves as the rightful ruler of China Proper. After taking over Northern China, the Jin dynasty became sinicised. About three million people, half of them Jurchens, migrated south into northern China over two decades, this minority governed about 30 million people; the Jurchens were given land grants and organised into hereditary military units: 300 households formed a moukecode: zho promoted to code: zh and 7–10 moukescode: zho promoted to code: zh formed a meng-ancode: zho promoted to code: zh. Many married Han Chinese, although the ban on Jurchen nobles marrying Han Chinese was not lifted until 1191. After Emperor Taizong died in 1135, the next three Jin emperors were grandsons of Aguda by three different princes. Emperor Xizong wrote Chinese poetry.
He adopted Han Chinese cultural traditions. In life, Emperor Xizong became an alcoholic and executed many officials for criticising him, he had Jurchen leaders who opposed him murdered those in the Wanyan clan. In 1149 he was murdered by a cabal of relatives and nobles, who made his cous
Gelimer, King of the Vandals and Alans, was the last Germanic ruler of the North African Kingdom of the Vandals. He became ruler in June 530 after deposing his first cousin twice removed, who had angered the Vandal nobility by converting to Chalcedonian Christianity, as most of the Vandals at this time were fiercely devoted to Arian Christianity; the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I, who had supported Hilderic, soon declared war on the Vandals, ostensibly to restore Hilderic. In June 533, Justinian sent an expeditionary force commanded by Belisarius which reached Africa in the beginning of September. Meanwhile, in Sardinia, which formed part of the Vandal domain, the governor Godas, a Goth, revolted against Gelimer and began to treat with Justinian as an independent sovereign. Gelimer, ignorant or contemptuous of Justinian's plans, sent a large army consisting of most of the available army in Africa under his brother Tzazo to crush the rebellion, meaning that the landing of Belisarius was unopposed.
On landing, Belisarius marched for Carthage meeting resistance on 13 September when he was confronted by Gelimer at Ad Decimum, 10 miles from Carthage. Although outnumbered 11,000 to 17,000 the battle was evenly fought by the Vandals until Gelimer's brother Ammatas was killed, at which time Gelimer lost heart and fled. On 14 September 533, Belisarius entered Carthage and ate the feast prepared for Gelimer in his palace. However, Belisarius was too late to save the life of Hilderic, slain at Gelimer's orders as soon as the news of the landing of the imperial army came. However, Gelimer had escaped the Roman pursuit, on the return of Tzazo from Sardinia the combined Vandal army met Belisarius in battle, this time at a place called Tricamarum about 20 miles from Carthage; this battle was far more stubbornly contested than that of Ad Decimum, but it ended in the utter rout of the Vandals and, once more, the flight of Gelimer. He retreated to Mons Pappua on the border of Numidia, where he soon found himself besieged by Byzantine forces under Pharas.
According to Procopius, when summoned to surrender Gelimer instead asked Pharas to send him a loaf of bread, a sponge, a lyre, to make the winter months on Pappua more bearable. In March 534, with his followers and their children starving and realizing he had no chance of regaining his kingdom, Gelimer surrendered to Belisarius and accepted the Romans' offer of vast estates in Galatia where he lived to be an old man. According to Byzantine chronicles, on his abdication he achieved some degree of anecdotal fame by crying out the verse from Ecclesiastes,'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity' during Justinian's triumph in Constantinople. Hodgkin, Thomas. Italy and her Invaders. Clarendon Press: 1895
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; 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; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian 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. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire 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 Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire