Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent late antique Byzantine Greek scholar from Palaestina Prima. Accompanying the Byzantine general Belisarius in Emperor Justinian's wars, Procopius became the principal Byzantine historian of the 6th century, writing the History of the Wars, the Buildings, the Secret History, he is classified as the last major historian of the ancient Western world. Apart from his own writings, the main source for Procopius's life is an entry in the Suda, a Greek encyclopaedia written sometime after 975, which discusses his early life, he was a native of Caesarea in the province of Palaestina Prima. He would have received a conventional elite education in the Greek classics and rhetoric at the famous school at Gaza, he may have attended law school at Berytus or Constantinople, became a lawyer. He evidently knew Latin. In 527, the first year of the reign of the emperor Justinian I, he became the legal adviser for Belisarius, a general whom Justinian made his chief military commander in a great attempt to restore control over the lost western provinces of the empire.
Procopius was with Belisarius on the eastern front until the latter was defeated at the Battle of Callinicum in 531 and recalled to Constantinople. Procopius witnessed the Nika riots of January, 532, which Belisarius and his fellow general Mundus repressed with a massacre in the Hippodrome. In 533, he accompanied Belisarius on his victorious expedition against the Vandal kingdom in North Africa, took part in the capture of Carthage, remained in Africa with Belisarius's successor Solomon the Eunuch when Belisarius returned east to the capital. Procopius recorded a few of the extreme weather events of 535–536, although these were presented as a backdrop to Byzantine military activities, such as a mutiny in and around Carthage, he rejoined Belisarius for his campaign against the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy and experienced the Gothic siege of Rome that lasted a year and nine days, ending in mid-March 538. He witnessed Belisarius's entry into the Gothic capital, Ravenna, in 540. Both the Wars and the Secret History suggest that his relationship with Belisarius cooled thereafter.
When Belisarius was sent back to Italy in 544 to cope with a renewal of the war with the Goths, now led by the able king Totila, Procopius appears to have no longer been on Belisarius's staff. As magister militum, Belisarius was an "illustrious man", he thus belonged to the mid-ranking group of the senatorial order. However, the Suda, well informed in such matters describes Procopius himself as one of the illustres. Should this information be correct, Procopius would have had a seat in the Constantinople's senate, restricted to the illustres under Justinian, it is not certain. Many historians—including Howard-Johnson and Greatrex—date his death to 554, but there was an urban prefect of Constantinople called Procopius in 562. In that year, Belisarius was brought before this urban prefect; the writings of Procopius are the primary source of information for the rule of the emperor Justinian I. Procopius was the author of a history in eight books on the wars prosecuted by Justinian, a panegyric on the emperor's public works projects throughout the empire, a book known as the Secret History that claims to report the scandals that Procopius could not include in his sanctioned history.
Procopius's Wars or History of the Wars is his most important work, although less well known than the Secret History. The first seven books seem to have been completed by 545 and may have been published as a unit, they were, updated to mid-century before publication, with the latest mentioned event occurring in early 551. The eighth and final book brings the history to 553; the first two books—often known as The Persian War —deal with the conflict between the Romans and Sassanid Persia in Mesopotamia, Armenia and Iberia. It details the campaigns of the Sassaniad shah Kavadh I, the 532'Nika' revolt, the war by Kavadh's successor Khosrau I in 540, his destruction of Antioch and deportation of its inhabitants to Mesopotamia, the great plague that devastated the empire from 542; the Persian War covers the early career of Procopius's patron Belisarius in some detail. The Wars’ next two books—known as The Vandal or Vandalic War —cover Belisarius's successful campaign against the Vandal kingdom that had occupied Rome's provinces in northwest Africa for the last century.
The final four books—known as The Gothic War —cover the Italian campaigns by Belisarius and others against the Ostrogoths. It includes accounts of the 1st and 2nd sieges of Naples and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd sieges of Rome; the last book describes the eunuch Narses's successful conclusion of the Italian campaign and includes some coverage of campaigns along the empire's eastern borders as well. The Wars was influential on Byzantine historiography. Histories, a continuation of Procopius's work in a similar style, was undertaken by Agathias in the 570s. Procopius's now famous Anecdota known as Secret History was discovered
Symeon the Metaphrast
Symeon the Metaphrast was the author of the 10-volume medieval Greek menologion, or collection of saints' lives. He lived in the second half of the 10th century. About his life we know only few details; the Eastern Orthodox Church honours him as a saint, with his feast day falling on November 9. A service composed in his honour is found in the Menaion. Numerous prayers which have been attributed to him are found in various Orthodox liturgical books. Metaphrastes was the most renowned of the Byzantine hagiographers. Scholars have been much divided as to the period in which he lived, dates ranging from the 9th century to the 14th having been suggested. Still greater divergences of opinion have existed as to the lives of saints coming from his pen, here again the solution of the problem has been attained by studying the composition of the great Greek menologies; the Menalogion of Metaphrastes is a collection of lives of saints for the twelve months of the year recognizable among analogous collections, consisting of about 150 distinct pieces, some of which are taken from older collections, while others have been added later.
Among other works attributed to Symeon are a Chronicle, a canonical collection, some letters and poems, other writings of less importance. Symeon's great popularity is due more to his Menologion; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Symeon Metaphrastes". Encyclopædia Britannica. 26. Cambridge University Press. P. 285. Leo Allatius, De Symeonum scriptis diatriba F. Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien, pp. 303–355 Albert Ehrhard, Die Legendensammlung des Symeon Metaphrastes Römische Quartalschrift, pp. 67205 and 531-553 Hippolyte Delehaye, "La vie de saint Paul le Jeune et la chronologie de Metaphraste Analecta Bollandiana, xvi. 312-327 and xvii. 448-452. C. Høgel: Symeon Metaphrastes. Rewriting and Canonization Greek Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Graeca with analytical indexes
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
Peter the Patrician
Peter the Patrician was a senior East Roman or Byzantine official and historian. A well-educated and successful lawyer, he was sent as envoy to Ostrogothic Italy in the prelude to the Gothic War of 535–554. Despite his diplomatic skill, he was not able to avert war, was imprisoned by the Goths in Ravenna for a few years. Upon his release, he was appointed to the post of magister officiorum, head of the imperial secretariat, which he held for an unparalleled 26 years. In this capacity, he was one of the leading ministers of Emperor Justinian I, playing an important role in the Byzantine emperor's religious policies and the relations with Sassanid Persia, his historical writings survive only in fragments, but provide unique source material on early Byzantine ceremonies and diplomatic issues between Byzantium and the Sassanids. Peter was born in Thessalonica about the year 500, was of Illyrian origin according to Procopius. After studying law, he embarked on a successful career as a lawyer in Constantinople, which brought him to the attention of Empress Theodora.
In 534, on account of his rhetorical skills, he was employed as an imperial envoy to the Ostrogothic court at Ravenna. At the time, a power struggle was developing there between Queen Amalasuntha, regent to the young king Athalaric, her cousin Theodahad. Following the death of Athalaric, Theodahad usurped the throne, imprisoned Amalasuntha, sent messages to Emperor Justinian hoping for recognition. Peter met the envoys at Aulon, on his way to Italy, notified Constantinople, seeking new instructions. Emperor Justinian ordered him to convey the message to Theodahad that Amalasuntha was under the Emperor's protection and not to be harmed. At the time Peter arrived in Italy, Amalasuntha had been killed. Whatever assurances might have been given by Theodora to Theodahad, in public, Peter condemned the act, declared that there would be "war without truce between the emperor and themselves" as a result. Peter returned to Constantinople with letters from Theodahad and the Roman Senate to the imperial couple, bearing pleas for a peaceful solution, but by the time he reached the imperial capital, Emperor Justinian had resolved on war and was preparing his forces.
Peter returned to Italy in the summer of 535 conveying an ultimatum: only if Theodahad abdicated and returned Italy to imperial rule, could war be averted. A two-pronged Byzantine offensive followed soon thereafter, attacking the outlying possessions of the Ostrogothic kingdom: Belisarius took Sicily, while Mundus invaded Dalmatia. Upon hearing these news, Theodahad despaired, Peter was able to secure wide-ranging concessions from him: Sicily was to be ceded to the Byzantine Empire. Theodahad, fearing that his first offer would be rejected instructed Peter, under oath, to offer the cession of all Italy, but only if the original concessions were rejected by Justinian. In the event, Justinian rejected the first proposal, was delighted to learn of the second one. Peter was sent back to Italy with Athanasius, bearing letters to Theodahad and the Gothic nobles, for a time it seemed as if the cradle of the Roman Empire would return peacefully to the fold, it was not to be: upon their arrival in Ravenna, the Byzantine envoys found Theodahad in a changed disposition.
Supported by the Gothic nobility and buoyed up by a success against Mundus in Dalmatia, he resolved to resist, imprisoned the ambassadors. Peter remained imprisoned in Ravenna for three years, until released in June/July 539 by the new Gothic king, Witigis, in exchange for Gothic envoys sent to Persia, captured by the Byzantines; as a reward for his services, Emperor Justinian appointed Peter to the post of magister officiorum, one of the highest positions in the state, heading the palace secretariat, the imperial guards, the Public Post with the dreaded agentes in rebus. He would hold this post for 26 consecutive years, longer by a wide margin than any other before or after. At about the same time or shortly thereafter, he was raised to the supreme title of patrician and the supreme senatorial rank of gloriosissimus, he was awarded an honorary consulship. As magister, he took part in the discussions with Western bishops in 548 on the Three-Chapter Controversy, was sent as an envoy in 551–553 to Pope Vigilius, who opposed the emperor on the issue.
Peter is recorded as attending the Second Council of Constantinople in May 553. In 550, he was sent as envoy by Justinian to negotiate a peace treaty with Persia, a role he reprised in 561, when he met the Persian envoy Izedh Gushnap at Dara, to end the Lazic War. Reaching an agreement over the Persian evacuation of Lazica and the delineation of the border in Armenia, the two envoys concluded a fifty-year peace between the two empires and their respective allies; the annual Roman subsidies to Persia would resume, but the amount was lowered from 500 to 420 pounds of gold. Further clause
This article is about the 11th-century Byzantine historian and philosopher. For the 9th-century Byzantine Emperor with the byname Psellus, see Michael II. "Michael Psellus the Elder" is covered below under Pseudo-Psellos. Michael Psellos or Psellus was a Byzantine Greek monk, writer, philosopher and historian, he was born in 1017 or 1018, is believed to have died in 1078, although it has been maintained that he remained alive until 1096. The main source of information about Psellos' life comes from his own works, which contain extensive autobiographical passages. Michael Psellos was born in Constantinople, his family hailed from Nicomedia and, according to his own testimony, counted members of the consular and patrician elite among its ancestors. His baptismal name was Constantine. Psellos was a personal by-name referring to a speech defect. Michael Psellos was educated in Constantinople. At around the age of ten, he was sent to work outside the capital as a secretary of a provincial judge, in order to help his family raise the dowry for his sister.
When his sister died, he returned to Constantinople to resume his studies. While studying under John Mauropus, he met the Patriarchs Constantine Leichoudes and John Xiphilinos, the emperor Constantine X Doukas. For some time, he worked in the provinces again; some time before 1042 he returned again to Constantinople, where he got a junior position at court as a secretary in the imperial chancellery. From there he began a rapid court career, he became an influential political advisor to emperor Constantine IX Monomachos. During the same time, he became the leading professor at the University of Constantinople, bearing the honorary title of "Chief of the Philosophers". Despite his leading eminence and prowess in learning, his knowledge of Latin was cloudy enough to confuse Cicero with Caesar; this is cited as one prime example of the paradigm of how the Eastern Roman Empire had lost nearly all of its connection to its nominal Roman roots by the High Middle Ages. Towards the end of Monomachos' reign, Psellos found himself under political pressure for some reason and decided to leave the court, entering the Olympus monastery on Mount Olympus in Bithynia in 1054.
After Monomachos' death, however, he was soon recalled to court by Empress Theodora. Throughout the following years, he remained active in politics, serving as a high-ranking political advisor to several successive emperors, he played a decisive political role in the transition of power from Michael VI to Isaac I Komnenos in 1057. As Psellos had served as Michael's personal teacher during the reign of Michael's father Constantine, as he had played an important role in helping Michael gain power against his adversary and stepfather Romanos, Psellos entertained hopes of an more influential position as a teacher and advisor under him. However, Michael seems to have been less inclined towards protecting Psellos and after the mid-1070s there is no more information about any role played by Psellos at court; as his own autobiographic accounts cease at this point, there is little reliable information about his years. Some scholars believe that Psellos had to retreat into a monastery again at some time during the 1070s.
Following a remark by Psellos' fellow historian Joannes Zonaras, it is believed by most scholars that Psellos died soon after the fall of Michael VII in 1078, although some scholars have proposed dates. What is known is that Theophylaktos of Bulgaria wrote a letter to Psellos's brother comforting him on the death of his brother saying that, "Your brother has not died, but has departed to God released of both a painful life and disease". Psellos' best known and most accessible work is the Chronographia, it is a history of the Byzantine emperors during the century leading up to Psellos' own time. It covers the reigns of fourteen emperors and empresses, beginning with the 50-year-long reign of Basil II, the "Bulgar-Slayer", ending some time during the reign of Michael VII Doukas, it is structured as a series of biographies. Unlike most other historiographical works of the period, it places much more emphasis on the description of characters than on details of political and military events, it includes extensive autobiographical elements about Psellos' political and intellectual development, it gives far greater weight to those periods when Psellos held an active position in politics, giving the whole work the character of political memoirs.
It is believed to have been written in two parts. The first covers the emperors up to Isaac I Komnenos; the second, which has a much more apologetic tone, is in large parts an encomium on Psellus' current protectors, the emperors of the Doukas dynasty. Psellos left many other writings: "Historia syntomos", a shorter, didactic historical text in the form of a world chronicle. A large number of scientific and religious treatises. One well-known example of these is a classification of demons, he compiled an important work on philosophy, the De omnifaria doctrina. Other works deal with topics such as astronomy, music, jurisprudence and laography. Various didactic poems on topi
George Hamartolos or Hamartolus was a monk at Constantinople under Michael III and the author of a chronicle of some importance. Hamartolus is not his name but the epithet he gives to himself in the title of his work: "A compendious chronicle from various chroniclers and interpreters, gathered together and arranged by George, a sinner", it is a common form among Byzantine monks. Krumbacher protests against the use of this epithet as a name and proposes the form Georgios Monachos. Nothing is known about him except from the internal evidence of his work, which establishes his period and his calling; the chronicle consists of four books. The first treats of profane history from Adam to Alexander the Great; the chronicle is the only original contemporary authority for the years 813–842, the other being the Scriptor Incertus. Because of this fact, it is indispensable; as in the case of such medieval chronicles, the only part to be taken is the account of more or less contemporary events. The rest is interesting as an example of Byzantine ideas on the subjects, of the questions that most interested Byzantine monks.
George describes his ideal and principles in the preface. He has used ancient Greek and modern Greek sources, has consulted edifying works, has striven to relate such things as were useful and necessary, with a strict adherence to truth, rather than to please the reader by artistic writing or pretensions to literary style, but of so great a mass of material he has chosen only what is necessary. In effect, the questions that seemed most useful and necessary to ecclesiastical persons at Constantinople in the ninth century are those that are discussed. There are theological excursuses, he writes of how idols were invented, the origin of monks, the religion of the Saracens, of the Iconoclast controversy that had just ended. Like all monks he hates iconoclasts; the violence with which he speaks of them shows how recent the storm had been and how the memory of iconoclast persecutions was still fresh when he wrote. He writes out long extracts from Greek Fathers; the first book treats of an astonishingly miscellaneous collection of persons — Adam, the Persians, Brahmins, etc.
In the second book, although it professes to deal with Bible history only, he has much to say about Plato and philosophers in general. Hamartolus ended his chronicle with the year 842. Various people, among them notably "Symeon Logothetes", Symeon Metaphrastes, the famous writer of saints' lives, continued his history to dates — the longest continuation reaches to 948. In these additions, religious questions are relegated to the background, more attention is devoted to political history, the language is more popular. Still further continuations of little value go down to 1143. In spite of his crude ideas and the violent hatred of iconoclasts that makes him always unjust towards them, his work has considerable value for the history of the last years before the schism of Photius, it was soon translated into Church Slavonic and in Georgian by Arsen of Iqalto. In these versions it became a sort of fountain-head for all early Slavonic historians, most notably Nestor; as a popular and consulted book of large circulation it has been re-edited and rearranged by anonymous scribes, so that the reconstruction of the original work is "one of the most difficult problems of Byzantine philology".
Combefis, François. "Bioi ton neon Basileon." In Maxima bibliotheca Paris, 1685. The last part of Book IV of the chronicle and the continuation. Muralt, E. de. Georgii monachi, dicti Hamartoli, Chronicon ab orbe condito ad annum p. chr. 842 et a diversis scriptoribus usq. ad ann. 1143 continuatum. St. Petersburg, 1859; the first edition of the whole work. It does not represent the original text, but one of the many modified versions, is in many ways deficient and misleading. Migne, Jacques Paul. Patrologia Graeca 110. Reprint of the previous edition, with a Latin translation; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "George Hamartolus". Catholic Encyclopedia. 6. New York: Robert Appleton; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "George the Monk". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12. Cambridge University Press. Afinogenov, D. "The Date of Georgios Monachos Reconsidered." BZ 92. Pp. 437–47. Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Graeca with analytical indexes
Western Europe is the region comprising the western part of Europe. Though the term Western Europe is used, there is no agreed-upon definition of the countries that it encompasses. Significant historical events that have shaped the concept of Western Europe include the rise of Rome, the adoption of Greek culture during the Roman Republic, the adoption of Christianity by Roman Emperors, the division of the Latin West and Greek East, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the reign of Charlemagne, the Viking invasions, the East–West Schism, the Black Death, the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the Protestant Reformation as well as the Counter-Reformation of the Catholic Church, the Age of Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the two world wars, the Cold War, the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the expansion of the European Union. Prior to the Roman conquest, a large part of Western Europe had adopted the newly developed La Tène culture; as the Roman domain expanded, a cultural and linguistic division appeared between the Greek-speaking eastern provinces, which had formed the urbanized Hellenistic civilization, the western territories, which in contrast adopted the Latin language.
This cultural and linguistic division was reinforced by the political east-west division of the Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire controlled the two divergent regions between the 3rd and the 5th centuries; the division between these two was enhanced during Late antiquity and the Middle Ages by a number of events. The Western Roman Empire collapsed. By contrast, the Eastern Roman Empire known as the Greek or Byzantine Empire and thrived for another 1000 years; the rise of the Carolingian Empire in the west, in particular the Great Schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, enhanced the cultural and religious distinctiveness between Eastern and Western Europe. After the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, by the Muslim Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, the gradual fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire, the division between Roman Catholic and Protestant became more important in Europe than that with Eastern Orthodoxy.
In East Asia, Western Europe was known as taixi in China and taisei in Japan, which translates as the "Far West". The term Far West became synonymous with Western Europe in China during the Ming dynasty; the Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci was one of the first writers in China to use the Far West as an Asian counterpart to the European concept of the Far East. In Ricci's writings, Ricci referred to himself as "Matteo of the Far West"; the term was still in use in the late early 20th centuries. Christianity is still the largest religion in Western Europe, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, 71.0% of the Western European population identified themselves as Christians. The East–West Schism, which has lasted since the 11th century, divided Christianity in Europe, the world, into Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity. With certain simplifications, Western Europe is thus Catholic or Protestant and uses the Latin alphabet. Eastern Europe uses the Greek alphabet or Cyrillic script.
According to this definition, Western Europe is formed by countries with dominant Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, including countries which are considered part of Central Europe now: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom. Eastern Europe, meanwhile is formed by countries with dominant Eastern Orthodox churches, including Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine for instance; the schism is the break of communion and theology between what are now the Eastern and Western churches. This division dominated Europe for centuries, in opposition to the rather short-lived Cold War division of four decades. Since the Great Schism of 1054, Europe has been divided between Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in the West and the Eastern Orthodox Christian churches in the east. Due to this religious cleavage, Eastern Orthodox countries are associated with Eastern Europe. A cleavage of this sort is, however problematic.
During the four decades of the Cold War, the definition of East and West was rather simplified by the existence of the Eastern Bloc. Historians and social scientists view the Cold War definition of Western and Eastern Europe as outdated or relegating. During the final stages of World War II, the future of Europe was decided between the Allies in the 1945 Yalta Conference, between the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, the U. S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Premier of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin. Post-war Europe would be divided into two major spheres: the Western Bloc, influenced by the United States, the Eastern Bloc, influenced by the Soviet Union. With the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain; this term had been used during World War II by German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk in the last days of the war.