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
A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. This refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of the martyr by the oppressor. Applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause. Most martyrs are considered holy or are respected by their followers, becoming symbols of exceptional leadership and heroism in the face of difficult circumstances. Martyrs play significant roles in religions. Martyrs have had notable effects in secular life, including such figures as Socrates, among other political and cultural examples. In its original meaning, the word martyr, meaning witness, was used in the secular sphere as well as in the New Testament of the Bible; the process of bearing witness was not intended to lead to the death of the witness, although it is known from ancient writers and from the New Testament that witnesses died for their testimonies.
During the early Christian centuries, the term acquired the extended meaning of believers who are called to witness for their religious belief, on account of this witness, endures suffering or death. The term, in this sense, entered the English language as a loanword; the death of a martyr or the value attributed. The early Christians who first began to use the term martyr in its new sense saw Jesus as the first and greatest martyr, on account of his crucifixion; the early Christians appear to have seen Jesus as the archetypal martyr. The word martyr is used in English to describe a wide variety of people. However, the following table presents a general outline of common features present in stereotypical martyrdoms. In the Bahá'í Faith, martyrs are those who sacrifice their lives serving humanity in the name of God. However, Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, discouraged the literal meaning of sacrificing one's life. Instead, he explained. Martyrdom was extensively promoted by the Kuomintang party in modern China.
Revolutionaries who died fighting against the Qing dynasty in the Xinhai Revolution and throughout the Republic of China period, furthering the cause of the revolution, were recognized as martyrs. In Christianity, a martyr, in accordance with the meaning of the original Greek martys in the New Testament, is one who brings a testimony written or verbal. In particular, the testimony is that of the Christian Gospel, or more the Word of God. A Christian witness is a biblical witness. However, over time many Christian testimonies were rejected, the witnesses put to death, the word martyr developed its present sense. Where death ensues, the witnesses follow the example of Jesus in offering up their lives for truth; the concept of Jesus as a martyr has received greater attention. Analyses of the Gospel passion narratives have led many scholars to conclude that they are martyrdom accounts in terms of genre and style. Several scholars have concluded that Paul the Apostle understood Jesus' death as a martyrdom.
In light of such conclusions, some have argued that the Christians of the first few centuries would have interpreted the crucifixion of Jesus as a martyrdom. In the context of church history, from the time of the persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire, it developed that a martyr was one, killed for maintaining a religious belief, knowing that this will certainly result in imminent death; this definition of martyr is not restricted to the Christian faith. Though Christianity recognizes certain Old Testament Jewish figures, like Abel and the Maccabees, as holy, the New Testament mentions the imprisonment and beheading of John the Baptist, Jesus's possible cousin and his prophet and forerunner, the first Christian witness, after the establishment of the Christian faith, to be killed for his testimony was Saint Stephen, those who suffer martyrdom are said to have been "crowned." From the time of Constantine, Christianity was decriminalized, under Theodosius I, became the state religion, which diminished persecution.
As some wondered how they could most follow Christ there was a development of desert spirituality, desert monks, self-mortification, following Christ by separation from the world. This was a kind of white martyrdom, dying to oneself every day, as opposed to a red martyrdom, the giving of one's life in a violent death. In Christianity, death in sectarian persecution can be viewed as martyrdom. For example, there were martyrs recognised on both sides of the schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England after 1534, with two hundred and eighty Christians martyred for their faith by public burning between 1553 and 1558 by the Roman Catholic Queen Mary I in England leading to the reversion to the Church of England under Queen Elizabeth I in 1559 and three hundred Roman Catholics martyred by the Church authorities in England over the following hundred and fifty years in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. More modern day accounts of martyrdom for Christ exist, depicted in books such as Jesus Freaks though the numbers are disputed.
There are claims that the numbers of Christians killed for their faith annually are exaggerated. Despite the promotion of ahimsa within Sanatana Dharma
Adoption of the Gregorian calendar
The adoption of the Gregorian Calendar was an event in the modern history of most nations and societies, marking a change from their traditional dating system to the modern dating system, used around the world today. Some countries adopted the new calendar from 1582, some did not do so before the early twentieth century, others did so at various dates between. For many the new style calendar is only used for civil purposes and the old style calendar remains used in religious contexts. Today, the Gregorian calendar is the world's most used civil calendar. During – and for some time after – the change between systems, it has been common to use the terms Old Style and New Style when giving dates, to indicate which calendar was used to reckon them; the Gregorian calendar was decreed in 1582 by the papal bull Inter gravissimas by Pope Gregory XIII, to correct a divergence in the canonical date of the spring equinox from observed reality that affected the calculation of the date of Easter. Although Gregory's reform was enacted in the most solemn of forms available to the Church, the bull had no authority beyond the Catholic Church and the Papal States.
The changes he was proposing were changes to the civil calendar, over which he had no formal authority. They required adoption by the civil authorities in each country to have legal effect; the bull became the canon law of the Catholic Church in 1582, but it was not recognised by Protestant churches, Eastern Orthodox Churches, a few others. The days on which Easter and related holidays were celebrated by different Christian churches again diverged. A month after having decreed the reform, the pope granted to one Antoni Lilio the exclusive right to publish the calendar for a period of ten years; the Lunario Novo secondo la nuova riforma was printed by Vincenzo Accolti, one of the first calendars printed in Rome after the reform, notes at the bottom that it was signed with papal authorization and by Lilio. The papal brief was revoked on 20 September 1582, because Antonio Lilio proved unable to keep up with the demand for copies. Catholic states such as France, the Italian principalities, Spain and the Catholic states of the Holy Roman Empire were first to change to the Gregorian calendar.
Thursday, 4 October 1582 was followed by 15 October 1582, with ten days skipped. Countries that did not change until the 18th century had by observed an additional leap year, necessitating the dropping of eleven days; some countries did not change until the 19th or 20th century, necessitating one or two further days to be omitted from the calendar. Philip II of Spain decreed the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, which affected much of Roman Catholic Europe, as Philip was at the time ruler over Spain and Portugal as well as much of Italy. In these territories, as well as in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and in the Papal States, the new calendar was implemented on the date specified by the bull, with Julian Thursday, 4 October 1582, being followed by Gregorian Friday, 15 October 1582. Other Catholic countries soon followed. France adopted the new calendar with Sunday, 9 December 1582, being followed by Monday, 20 December 1582; the Dutch provinces of Brabant and Zeeland, the States General adopted it on 25 December of that year.
The seven Catholic Swiss cantons adopted the new calendar in January 1684 while Geneva and several Protestant cantons adopted it in January 1701 or at other dates throughout the 18th century. The two Swiss communes of Schiers and Grüsch were the last areas of Western and Central Europe to switch to the Gregorian calendar, in 1812. Many Protestant countries objected to adopting a Catholic innovation. In England, Queen Elizabeth I and her privy council had looked favourably to a Gregorian-like royal commission recommendation to drop 10 days from the calendar but the virulent opposition of the Anglican bishops, who argued that the Pope was undoubtedly the fourth great beast of Daniel, led the Queen to let the matter be dropped. In the Czech lands, Protestants resisted the calendar imposed by the Habsburg Monarchy. In parts of Ireland, Catholic rebels until their defeat in the Nine Years' War kept the "new" Easter in defiance of the English-loyal authorities; the Lutheran Duchy of Prussia, until 1657 still a fiefdom of Roman Catholic Poland, was the first Protestant nation to adopt the Gregorian calendar.
Under influence of its liege lord, the King of Poland, it agreed in 1611 to do so. So 22 August was followed by 2 September 1612. However, this calendar change did not apply for other territories of the Hohenzollern, such as Berlin-based Brandenburg, a fief of the Holy Roman Empire. Through Ole Rømer's influence, Denmark in 1700, which included Norway, adopted the solar portion of the Gregorian calendar with Sunday, 18 February 1700, being followed by Monday, 1 March 1700 with the Brandenburg-Pomerania and other Protestant estates of the Holy Roman Empire. None of these st
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The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. In 303, the Emperors Diocletian, Maximian and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding Christians' legal rights and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. Edicts targeted the clergy and demanded universal sacrifice, ordering all inhabitants to sacrifice to the gods; the persecution varied in intensity across the empire—weakest in Gaul and Britain, where only the first edict was applied, strongest in the Eastern provinces. Persecutory laws were nullified by different emperors at different times, but Constantine and Licinius's Edict of Milan has traditionally marked the end of the persecution. Christians had always been subject to local discrimination in the empire, but early emperors were reluctant to issue general laws against the sect, it was under the reigns of Decius and Valerian, that such laws were passed. Under this legislation, Christians were compelled to sacrifice to Roman gods or face imprisonment and execution.
After Gallienus's accession in 260, these laws went into abeyance. Diocletian's assumption of power in 284 did not mark an immediate reversal of imperial inattention to Christianity, but it did herald a gradual shift in official attitudes toward religious minorities. In the first fifteen years of his rule, Diocletian purged the army of Christians, condemned Manicheans to death, surrounded himself with public opponents of Christianity. Diocletian's preference for activist government, combined with his self-image as a restorer of past Roman glory, foreboded the most pervasive persecution in Roman history. In the winter of 302, Galerius urged Diocletian to begin a general persecution of the Christians. Diocletian was wary, asked the oracle of Apollo for guidance; the oracle's reply was read as an endorsement of Galerius's position, a general persecution was called on February 24, 303. Persecutory policies varied in intensity across the empire. Whereas Galerius and Diocletian were avid persecutors, Constantius was unenthusiastic.
Persecutory edicts, including the calls for universal sacrifice, were not applied in his domain. His son, Constantine, on taking the imperial office in 306, restored Christians to full legal equality and returned property, confiscated during the persecution. In Italy in 306, the usurper Maxentius ousted Maximian's successor Severus, promising full religious toleration. Galerius ended the persecution in the East in 311, but it was resumed in Egypt and Asia Minor by his successor, Maximinus. Constantine and Licinius, Severus's successor, signed the Edict of Milan in 313, which offered a more comprehensive acceptance of Christianity than Galerius's edict had provided. Licinius ousted Maximinus in 313; the persecution failed to check the rise of the Church. By 324, Constantine was sole ruler of the empire, Christianity had become his favored religion. Although the persecution resulted in death, imprisonment, or dislocation for many Christians, the majority of the empire's Christians avoided punishment.
The persecution did, cause many churches to split between those who had complied with imperial authority, those who had remained "pure". Certain schisms, like those of the Donatists in North Africa and the Meletians in Egypt, persisted long after the persecutions; the Donatists would not be reconciled to the Church until after 411. Some historians consider that, in the centuries that followed the persecutory era, Christians created a "cult of the martyrs", exaggerated its barbarity; such Christian accounts were criticized during the Enlightenment and afterwards, most notably by Edward Gibbon. Modern historians, such as G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, have attempted to determine whether Christian sources exaggerated the scope of the Diocletianic persecution. From its first appearance to its legalization under Constantine, Christianity was an illegal religion in the eyes of the Roman state. For the first two centuries of its existence and its practitioners were unpopular with the people at large. Christians were always suspect, members of a "secret society" whose members communicated with a private code and who shied away from the public sphere.
It was popular hostility—the anger of the crowd—which drove the earliest persecutions, not official action. In Lyon in 177, it was only the intervention of civil authorities that stopped a pagan mob from dragging Christians from their houses and beating them to death; the governor of Bithynia–Pontus, was sent long lists of denunciations by anonymous citizens, which Emperor Trajan advised him to ignore. To the followers of the traditional cults, Christians were odd creatures: not quite Roman, but not quite barbarian either, their practices were threatening to traditional mores. Christians rejected public festivals, refused to take part in the imperial cult, avoided public office, publicly criticized ancient traditions. Conversions tore families apart: Justin Martyr tells of a pagan husband who denounced his Christian wife, Tertullian tells of children disinherited for becoming Christians. Traditional Roman religion was inextricably interwoven into the fabric of Roman society and state, but Christians refused to observe its practices.
In the words of Tacitus, Christians showed "hatred of the human race". Among the more credulous, Christians were thought to use black magic in pursuit of revolutionary aims, to practice incest and cannibalism. Nonetheless, for the first two centuries of the Christian era, no emperor issued general laws against the faith or its Church; these persecutions were carried o
Maximus the Confessor
Maximus the Confessor known as Maximus the Theologian and Maximus of Constantinople, was a Christian monk and scholar. In his early life, Maximus was a civil servant, an aide to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. However, he gave up this life in the political sphere to enter into the monastic life. Maximus had studied diverse schools of philosophy, what was common for his time, the Platonic dialogues, the works of Aristotle, numerous Platonic commentators on Aristotle and Plato, like Plotinus, Porphyry and Proclus; when one of his friends began espousing the Christological position known as Monothelitism, Maximus was drawn into the controversy, in which he supported an interpretation of the Chalcedonian formula on the basis of which it was asserted that Jesus had both a human and a divine will. Maximus is venerated in both the Eastern Roman Catholic churches, he was persecuted for his Christological positions. He was exiled and died on August 13, 662, in Tsageri in present-day Georgia. However, his theology was upheld by the Third Council of Constantinople and he was venerated as a saint soon after his death.
It is uncommon among the saints that he has two feast days: 13 August and 21 January. His title of "Confessor" means that he suffered for the Christian faith, but was not directly martyred; the Life of the Virgin, the only extant copy of, in a Georgian translation, is albeit mistakenly, attributed to him, is considered to be one of the earliest complete biographies of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Little is known about the details of Maximus' life prior to his involvement in the theological and political conflicts of the Monothelite controversy. Numerous Maximian scholars call substantial portions of the Maronite biography into question, including Maximus' birth in Palestine, a common seventh century trope to discredit an opponent. Moreover, the exceptional education Maximus evidently received could not have been had in any other part of the Byzantine Empire during that time except for Constantinople, Caesarea and Alexandria, it is very unlikely that anyone of low social birth, as the Maronite biography describes Maximus, could have ascended by the age of thirty to be the Protoasecretis of the Emperor Heraclius, one of the most powerful positions in the Empire.
It is more that Maximus was born of an aristocratic family and received an unparalleled education in philosophy, astronomy, etc. It is true, that Maximus did not study rhetoric as he himself notes in the prologue to his Earlier Ambigua to John, to which his lack of high stylistic by Byzantine standards attests. For reasons not explained in the few autobiographical details to be gleaned from his texts, Maximus left public life and took monastic vows at the monastery of Philippicus in Chrysopolis, a city across the Bosporus from Constantinople. Maximus was elevated to the position of abbot of the monastery; when the Persians conquered Anatolia, Maximus was forced to flee to a monastery near Carthage. It was there that he came under the tutelage of Saint Sophronius, began studying in detail with him the Christological writings of Gregory of Nazianzus and Dionysius the Areopagite. According to I P Sheldon Williams his achievement was to set these doctrines into a framework of Aristotelian logic, which both suited the temper of the times and made them less liable to misinterpretation.
Maximus continued his career as a theological and spiritual writer during his lengthy stay in Carthage. Maximus was held in high esteem by the exarch Gregory, the eparch George and the population as a holy man, ostensibly becoming an influential unofficial political advisor and spiritual head in North Africa. While Maximus was in Carthage, a controversy broke out regarding how to understand the interaction between the human and divine natures within the person of Jesus; this Christological debate was the latest development in disagreements that began following the First Council of Nicaea in 325, were intensified following the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Monothelite position was developed as a compromise between the dyophysitists and the miaphysists, who believed dyophysitism is conceptually indistinguishable from Nestorianism; the Monothelites adhered to the Chalcedonian definition of the hypostatic union: that two natures, one divine and one human, were united in the person of Christ.
However, they went on to say that Christ had only a divine will and no human will, which led some to charge them with Apollinarian monophysitism. The Monothelite position was promulgated by Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople and by Maximus' friend and successor as the Abbot of Chrysopolis, Pyrrhus. Following the death of Sergius in 638, Pyrrhus succeeded him as Patriarch, but was shortly deposed owing to political circumstances. During Pyrrhus' exile from Constantinople and the deposed Patriarch held a public debate on the issue of Monothelitism. In the debate, held in the presence of many North African bishops, Maximus took the position that Jesus possessed both a human and a divine will; the result of the debate was that Pyrrhus admitted the error of the Monothelite position, Maximus accompanied him to Rome in 645. However, on the death of Emperor Heraclius and the accession of Emperor Constans II, Pyrrhus returned to Constantinople and recanted of his acceptance of the Dyothelite position.
Maximus may have remained in Rome, because he was present when the newly elected Pope Martin I convened