Zeno the Isaurian named Tarasis Kodisa Rousombladadiotes, was Eastern Roman Emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. Domestic revolts and religious dissension plagued his reign, which succeeded to some extent in foreign issues, his reign saw the end of the Western Roman Empire following the deposition of Romulus Augustus and the death of Julius Nepos, but he contributed much to stabilising the Eastern Empire. In ecclesiastical history, Zeno is associated with the Henotikon or "instrument of union", promulgated by him and signed by all the Eastern bishops, with the design of solving the monophysite controversy. Zeno's original name was Tarasis, more Tarasikodissa in his native Isaurian language. Tarasis was born in Isauria, at Rusumblada renamed Zenonopolis in Zeno's honour, his father was called his mother Lallis, his brother Longinus. Tarasis had a wife, whose name indicates a relationship with the Constantinopolitan aristocracy, whose statue was erected near the Baths of Arcadius, along the steps that led to Topoi.
Near Eastern and other Christian traditions maintain that Zeno had two daughters and Theopiste, who followed a religious life, but historical sources attest the existence of only one son by Arcadia, called Zenon. According to ancient sources, Zeno's prestigious career—he had fought against Attila in 447 to defend Constantinople and been consul the following year—was the reason why another Isaurian officer, chose the Greek name Zeno when he married into the Imperial family, thus being known as Zeno when he rose to the throne; some modern historians suggest that the Isaurian general Zeno was the father of the emperor, but there is no consensus about this, other sources suggest that Tarasis was a member of Zeno's entourage. The Isaurians were a people who lived inland from the Mediterranean coast of Anatolia, in the core of the Taurus Mountains. Like most borderland tribes, they were looked upon as barbarians by the Romans though they had been Roman subjects for more than five centuries. However, being Orthodox Christians rather than Arians, as the Goths and other Germanic tribes were, they were not formally barred from the throne.
According to some scholars, in the mid-460s, the Eastern Roman Emperor, Leo I, wanted to balance the weight of the Germanic component of the army, whose leader was the Alan magister militum Aspar. He thought that Tarasis and his Isaurians could be that counterweight, called him, with many Isaurians, to Constantinople; this interpretation, has been contested. By the mid-460s, Arcadia and Zeno had been living at Constantinople for some time, where Lallis and Longinus lived, the latter married to a Valeria a woman of aristocrat rank. According to ancient sources, the earliest reference to Tarasis dates back to 464, when he put his hands on some letters written by Aspar's son, which proved that the son of the magister militum had incited the Sassanid King to invade Roman territory, promising to support the invasion. Through these letters, which Tarasis gave to Leo, the Emperor could dismiss Ardabur, who at the time was magister militum per Orientem and patricius, thus reducing Aspar's influence and ambition.
As reward for his loyalty, which Leo praised to Daniel the Stylite, Tarasis was appointed comes domesticorum, an office of great influence and prestige. This appointment could mean that Tarasis had been a protector domesticus, either at Leo's court in Constantinople, or attached at Ardabur's staff in Antioch. In 465, Leo and Aspar quarrelled about the appointment of consuls for the following year. To make himself more acceptable to the Roman hierarchy and the population of Constantinople, Tarasis adopted the Greek name of Zeno and used it for the rest of his life. In mid-late 466, Zeno married elder daughter of Leo I and Verina; the next year their son was born, Zeno became father of the heir apparent to the throne, as the only son of Leo I had died in his infancy. Zeno, was not present at the birth of his son, as in 467, he participated in a military campaign against the Goths. Zeno, as a member of the protectores domestici, did not take part in the disastrous expedition against the Vandals, led in 468 by Leo's brother-in-law Basiliscus.
The following year, during which he held the honour of the consulate, he was appointed magister militum per Thracias and led an expedition in Thrace. The sources do not state what enemy he fought there, historians had proposed either Goths or Huns, or the rebels of Anagastes. Either way, before leaving and Zeno asked for Daniel the Stylite's opinion about the campaign, Daniel answered that Zeno would be the target of a conspiracy but would escape unharmed. Indeed, Leo sent some of his personal soldiers with Zeno to protect him, but they were bribed by Aspar to capture him instead. Zeno was informed of their intention and fled to Serdica, because of this episode, Leo grew more suspicious of Aspar. After the attack, Zeno did not return to Constantinople, where Aspar and Ardabur were, still with considerable power. Instead, he moved to the "Long Wall" to Pylai and from there to Chalcedon. While waiting here for an opportunity to return to the capital, he was appointed magister militum per Orientem.
Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos, Latinized Alexius I Comnenus, was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118. Although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power. Inheriting a collapsing empire and faced with constant warfare during his reign against both the Seljuq Turks in Asia Minor and the Normans in the western Balkans, Alexios was able to curb the Byzantine decline and begin the military and territorial recovery known as the Komnenian restoration; the basis for this recovery were various reforms initiated by Alexios. His appeals to Western Europe for help against the Turks were the catalyst that contributed to the convoking of the Crusades. Alexios was the son of the Domestic of the Schools John Komnenos and Anna Dalassene, the nephew of Isaac I Komnenos. Alexios' father declined the throne on the abdication of Isaac, thus succeeded by four emperors of other families between 1059 and 1081. Under one of these emperors, Romanos IV Diogenes, Alexios served with distinction against the Seljuq Turks.
Under Michael VII Doukas Parapinakes and Nikephoros III Botaneiates, he was employed, along with his elder brother Isaac, against rebels in Asia Minor, in Epirus. In 1074, western mercenaries led by Roussel de Bailleul rebelled in Asia Minor, but Alexios subdued them by 1076. In 1078, he was appointed commander of the field army in the West by Nikephoros III. In this capacity, Alexios defeated the rebellions of Nikephoros Bryennios the Elder and Nikephoros Basilakes, the first at the Battle of Kalavrye and the latter in a surprise night attack on his camp. Alexios was ordered to march against his brother-in-law Nikephoros Melissenos in Asia Minor but refused to fight his kinsman; this did not, lead to a demotion, as Alexios was needed to counter the expected invasion of the Normans of Southern Italy, led by Robert Guiscard. While Byzantine troops were assembling for the expedition, the Doukas faction at court approached Alexios and convinced him to join a conspiracy against Nikephoros III; the mother of Alexios, Anna Dalassene, was to play a prominent role in this coup d'état of 1081, along with the current empress, Maria of Alania.
First married to Michael VII Doukas and secondly to Nikephoros III Botaneiates, she was preoccupied with the future of her son by Michael VII, Constantine Doukas. Nikephoros III intended to leave the throne to one of his close relatives, this resulted in Maria's ambivalence and alliance with the Komnenoi, though the real driving force behind this political alliance was Anna Dalassene; the empress was closely connected to the Komnenoi through Maria's cousin Irene's marriage to Isaac Komnenos, so the Komnenoi brothers were able to see her under the pretense of a friendly family visit. Furthermore, to aid the conspiracy Maria had adopted Alexios as her son, though she was only five years older than he. Maria was persuaded to do so on the advice of her own "Alans" and her eunuchs, instigated by Isaac Komnenos. Given Anna's tight hold on her family, Alexios must have been adopted with her implicit approval; as a result and Constantine, Maria's son, were now adoptive brothers, both Isaac and Alexios took an oath that they would safeguard his rights as emperor.
By secretly giving inside information to the Komnenoi, Maria was an invaluable ally. As stated in the Alexiad and Alexios left Constantinople in mid-February 1081 to raise an army against Botaneiates. However, when the time came and surreptitiously mobilized the remainder of the family and took refuge in the Hagia Sophia. From there she negotiated with the emperor for the safety of family members left in the capital, while protesting her sons' innocence of hostile actions. Under the falsehood of making a vesperal visit to worship at the church, she deliberately excluded the grandson of Botaneiates and his loyal tutor, met with Alexios and Isaac, fled for the forum of Constantine; the tutor discovered they were missing and found them on the palace grounds, but Anna was able to convince him that they would return to the palace shortly. To gain entrance to both the outer and inner sanctuary of the church, the women pretended to the gatekeepers that they were pilgrims from Cappadocia who had spent all their funds and wanted to worship before starting their return trip.
However, before they were to gain entry into the sanctuary and royal guards caught up with them to summon them back to the palace. Anna protested that the family was in fear for their lives, her sons were loyal subjects, had learned of a plot by enemies of the Komnenoi to have them both blinded and had, fled the capital so they may continue to be of loyal service to the emperor, she refused to go with them and demanded that they allow her to pray to the Mother of God for protection. This request was granted and Anna manifested her true theatrical and manipulative capabilities: She was allowed to enter; as if she were weighed down with old age and worn out by grief, she walked and when she approached the actual entrance to the sanctuary made two genuflections. Nikephoros III Botaneiates was forced into a public vow that he would grant protection to the family. Straboromanos tried to give Anna his cross, but for her it was not sufficiently
Byzantine Empire under the Komnenos dynasty
The Eastern Roman Empire known as the Byzantine Empire or Byzantium in historiography, are terms conventionally used by historians to describe the Greek ethnic and speaking Roman Empire of the Middle Ages, centered on its capital of Constantinople. Having survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire during the 400s, the Eastern Roman Empire continued to function until its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. In the context of Byzantine history, the period from about 1081 to about 1185 is known as the Komnenian or Comnenian period, after the Komnenos dynasty. Together, the five Komnenian emperors ruled for 104 years, presiding over a sustained, though incomplete, restoration of the military, territorial and political position of the Byzantine Empire; as a human institution, Byzantium under the Komnenoi played a key role in the history of the Crusades in the Holy Land, while exerting enormous cultural and political influence in Europe, the Near East, the lands around the Mediterranean Sea.
The Komnenian emperors John and Manuel, exerted great influence over the Crusader states of Outremer, whilst Alexios I played a key role in the course of the First Crusade, which he helped bring about. Moreover, it was during the Komnenian period that contact between Byzantium and the'Latin' Christian West, including the Crusader states, was at its most crucial stage. Venetian and other Italian traders became resident in Constantinople and the empire in large numbers, their presence together with the numerous Latin mercenaries who were employed by Manuel in particular helped to spread Byzantine technology, art and culture throughout the Roman Catholic west. Above all, the cultural impact of Byzantine art on the west at this period was enormous and of long lasting significance; the Komnenoi made a significant contribution to the history of Asia Minor. By reconquering much of the region, the Komnenoi set back the advance of the Turks in Anatolia by more than two centuries. In the process, they planted the foundations of the Byzantine successor states of Nicaea and Trebizond.
Meanwhile, their extensive programme of fortifications has left an enduring mark upon the Anatolian landscape, which can still be appreciated today. The Komnenian era was born out of a period of great strife for the Byzantine Empire. Following a period of relative success and expansion under the Macedonian dynasty, Byzantium experienced several decades of stagnation and decline, which culminated in a vast deterioration in the military, territorial and political situation of the Byzantine Empire by the accession of Alexios I Komnenos in 1081; the problems the empire faced were caused by the growing influence and power of the aristocracy, which weakened the empire's military structure by undermining the theme system that trained and administered its armies. Beginning with the death of the successful soldier-emperor Basil II in 1025, a long series of weak rulers had disbanded the large armies, defending the eastern provinces from attack. In fact, most of the money was given away in the form of gifts to favourites of the emperor, extravagant court banquets, expensive luxuries for the imperial family.
Meanwhile, the remnants of the once-formidable armed forces were allowed to decay, to the point where they were no longer capable of functioning as an army. Elderly men with ill-maintained equipment mixed with new recruits who had never participated in a training exercise; the simultaneous arrival of aggressive new enemies – Turks in the east and Normans in the west – was another contributory factor. In 1040, the Normans landless mercenaries from northern parts of Europe in search of plunder, began attacking Byzantine strongholds in southern Italy. In order to deal with them, a mixed force of mercenaries and conscripts under the formidable George Maniakes was sent to Italy in 1042. Maniakes and his army conducted a brutally successful campaign, but before it could be concluded he was recalled to Constantinople. Angered by a series of outrages against his wife and property by one of his rivals, he was proclaimed emperor by his troops, led them across the Adriatic to victory against a loyalist army.
However, a mortal wound led to his death shortly afterwards. With opposition thus absent in the Balkans, the Normans were able to complete the expulsion of the Byzantines from Italy by 1071. Despite the seriousness of this loss, it was in Asia Minor that the empire's greatest disaster would take place; the Seljuk Turks, although concerned with defeating Egypt under the Fatimids conducted a series of damaging raids into Armenia and eastern Anatolia – the main recruiting ground for Byzantine armies. With imperial armies weakened by years of insufficient funding and civil warfare, Emperor Romanos Diogenes realised that a time of re-structuring and re-equipment was necessary, he attempted to lead a defensive campaign in the east until his forces had recovered enough to defeat the Seljuks. However, he suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Alp Arslan at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. Romanos was captured, although the Sultan's peace terms were lenient, the battle in the long term resulted in the total loss of Byzantine Anatolia.
On his release, Romanos found that his enemies had conspired against him to place their own candidate on the throne in his absence. After two defeats in battle against the rebels, Romanos surrendered and suffered a horrific death by torture; the new ruler, Michael Douka
The Dominate or late Roman Empire is the name sometimes given to the "despotic" phase of imperial government, following the earlier period known as the "Principate", in the ancient Roman Empire. This phase is more called the Tetrarchy at least until 313 when the empire was reunited, it may begin with the commencement of the reign of Diocletian in AD 284, following the Third Century Crisis of AD 235–284, to end in the west with the collapse of the Western Empire in AD 476, while in the east its end is disputed, as either occurring at the close of the reign of Justinian I or of Heraclius. In form, the Dominate is considered to have been more authoritarian, less collegiate and more bureaucratic than the Principate from which it emerged; the modern term Dominate is derived from the Latin dominus, which translates into English as lord or master. This form of address—traditionally used by slaves to address their masters—was sporadically used in addressing emperors throughout the Principate in the form of excessive flattery when referring to the emperor.
Augustus discouraged the practice, Tiberius in particular is said to have reviled it as sycophancy. Domitian encouraged its use, but none of the emperors used the term in any semi-official capacity until the reign of Aurelian in AD 274, where coins were issued bearing the inscription deus et dominus natus. However, it was only under Diocletian that the term was adopted as part of the emperor's official titulature, forming part of Diocletian's radical reforms that transformed the Principate into the Dominate; the Dominate system of government emerged as a response to the 50 years of chaos, referred to as the Crisis of the Third Century. The stresses and strains of those years exposed the weaknesses in the Roman state under the Principate, saw a gradual movement from the collegiate model of government that existed prior to AD 235 to a more formally autocratic version that begins after AD 285. In broad terms, it saw the gradual exclusion of the senatorial elite from high military commands and the parallel elevation of the equestrian orders, the reorganisation of the armed forces and the creation of mobile field armies, changes in imperial dress and ceremonial displays, a religious policy aiming at religious unity, large scale monetary reforms, the creation of an empire-wide civil bureaucracy.
Although Diocletian is thought of as creator of the Dominate, its origins lie in the innovations of earlier emperors, principally those undertaken by Aurelian some stretching back to the reign of Gallienus. Not all the changes that produced the'Dominate' were completed by the time of Diocletian's abdication in AD 305. Just as the Principate emerged over the period 31 BC through to 14 AD, it is only by AD 337 that the reforms that resulted in the Dominate were complete. In the opinion of the historian John Bagnall Bury, the system of government, "constructed with the most careful attention to details, was a solution of the formidable problem of holding together a huge heterogeneous empire, threatened with dissolution and bankruptcy, an empire, far from being geographically compact and had four long, as well as several smaller, frontiers to defend. To govern a large state by two independent but similar machines, controlled not from one centre but from two foci, without sacrificing its unity was an interesting and new experiment.
These bureaucratic machines worked moderately well, their success might have been extraordinary if the monarchs who directed them had always been men of superior ability. Blots of course and defects there were in the fields of economy and finance; the political creation of the Illyrian Emperors was not unworthy of the genius of Rome." Under the Principate, the position of emperor saw the concentration of various civil and military offices within a single magistracy. Augustus and his successors took great care to disguise the autocratic nature of the office by hiding behind the institutions of the Roman Republic and the fiction that the emperor was the princeps or first citizen, whose authority was granted by the Senate; this role was always filled by a single individual, the date that the Potestas tribunicia was conferred onto that person was the point when imperial authority could be exercised. Over the course of the Principate, it became common for the emperor to nominate an heir, but the caesar did not have access to the powers of the emperor, nor was he delegated any official authority.
It was during the Crisis of the Third Century that the traditional imperial approach of a single imperial magistrate based at Rome became unable to cope with multiple and simultaneous invasions and usurpations that required the emperor to be everywhere at once. Further, it was their absence which caused usurpations to occur in response to a local or provincial crisis that traditionally would have been dealt with by the emperor. Under the Dominate, the burden of the imperial position was shared between colleagues, referred to as the Consortium imperii, it was Diocletian who introduced this form of government, under a system called the Tetrarchy, which consisted of two co-emperors and two subordinate junior emperors, each of whom shared in the imperial power. This original power sharing model lasted from AD 289 through to AD 324, being undone during the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy. With Constantine I’s death in AD 337, the empire was again shared between multiple augusti, l
Byzantine Empire under the Heraclian dynasty
The Byzantine Empire was ruled by emperors of the dynasty of Heraclius between 610 and 711. The Heraclians presided over a period of cataclysmic events that were a watershed in the history of the Empire and the world in general. At the beginning of the dynasty, the Empire's culture was still Ancient Roman, dominating the Mediterranean and harbouring a prosperous Late Antique urban civilization; this world was shattered by successive invasions, which resulted in extensive territorial losses, financial collapse and plagues that depopulated the cities, while religious controversies and rebellions further weakened the Empire. By the dynasty's end, the Empire had evolved a different state structure: now known in historiography as medieval Byzantium, a chiefly agrarian, military-dominated society, engaged in a lengthy struggle with the Muslim Caliphate. However, the Empire during this period was far more homogeneous, being reduced to its Greek-speaking and Chalcedonian core territories, which enabled it to weather these storms and enter a period of stability under the successor Isaurian Dynasty.
The Heraclian dynasty was named after the general Heraclius the Younger, who, in 610, sailed from Carthage, overthrew the usurper Phocas, was crowned Emperor. At the time, the Empire was embroiled in a war with the Sassanid Persian Empire, which in the next decade conquered the Empire's eastern provinces. After a long and exhausting struggle, Heraclius managed to defeat the Persians and restore the Empire, only to lose these provinces again shortly after to the sudden eruption of the Muslim conquests, his successors struggled to contain the Arab tide. The Levant and North Africa were lost, while in 674–678, a large Arab army besieged Constantinople itself; the state survived and the establishment of the Theme system allowed the imperial heartland of Asia Minor to be retained. Under Justinian II and Tiberios III the imperial frontier in the East was stabilized, although incursions continued on both sides; the latter 7th century saw the first conflicts with the Bulgars and the establishment of a Bulgarian state in Byzantine lands south of the Danube, which would be the Empire's chief antagonist in the West until the 11th century.
Since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire continued to see Western Europe as rightfully Imperial territory. However, only Justinian I attempted to enforce this claim with military might. Temporary success in the West was achieved at the cost of Persian dominance in the East, where the Byzantines were forced to pay tribute to avert war. However, after Justinian's death, much of newly recovered Italy fell to the Lombards, the Visigoths soon reduced the imperial holdings in Spain. At the same time, wars with the Persian Empire brought no conclusive victory. In 591 however, the long war was ended with a treaty favorable to Byzantium. Thus, after the death of Justinian's successor Tiberius II, Maurice sought to restore the prestige of the Empire. Though the Empire had gained smaller successes over the Slavs and Avars in pitched battles across the Danube, both enthusiasm for the army and faith in the government had lessened considerably. Unrest had reared its head in Byzantine cities as social and religious differences manifested themselves into Blue and Green factions that fought each other in the streets.
The final blow to the government was a decision to cut the pay of its army in response to financial strains. The combined effect of an army revolt led by a junior officer named Phocas and major uprisings by the Greens and Blues forced Maurice to abdicate; the Senate approved Phocas as the new Emperor and Maurice, the last emperor of the Justinian Dynasty, was murdered along with his four sons. The Persian King Khosrau II responded by launching an assault on the Empire, ostensibly to avenge Maurice, who had earlier helped him to regain his throne. Phocas was alienating his supporters with his repressive rule, the Persians were able to capture Syria and Mesopotamia by 607. By 608, the Persians were camped outside Chalcedon, within sight of the imperial capital of Constantinople, while Anatolia was ravaged by Persian raids. Making matters worse was the advance of the Avars and Slavic tribes heading south across the Danube and into Imperial territory. While the Persians were making headway in their conquest of the eastern provinces, Phocas chose to divide his subjects rather than unite them against the threat of the Persians.
Seeing his defeats as divine retribution, Phocas initiated a savage and bloody campaign to forcibly convert the Jews to Christianity. Persecutions and alienation of the Jews, a frontline people in the war against the Persians helped drive them into aiding the Persian conquerors; as Jews and Christians began tearing each other apart, some fled the butchery into Persian territory. Meanwhile, it appears that the disasters befalling the Empire led the Emperor into a state of paranoia — although it must be said that there were numerous plots against his rule and execution followed execution. Among those individuals who were executed was the former empress Constantina and her three daughters. Due to the overwhelming crisis facing the Empire that had pitched it into chaos, Heraclius the Younger now attempted to seize power from Phocas in an effort to better Byzantium's fortunes; as the Empire was led into anarchy, the Exarchate of Carthage remained out of reach of Persian conquest. Far from the incompetent Imperial authority of the time, the Exarch of Carthage, with his brother Gregorius, began building up his forces to assault Constantinople.
After cutting off the grain supply to the capital from his territory, Heraclius led a substantial army and a fleet in 608
Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. In the English-speaking world it is most understood to mean "king" or "emperor"; the title was used by sovereigns and other persons of authority in ancient Greece, the Byzantine emperors, the kings of modern Greece. The feminine forms are basileia, basilissa, or the archaic basilinna, meaning "queen" or "empress"; the etymology of basileus is unclear. The Mycenaean form was *gʷasileus, denoting some sort of court official or local chieftain, but not an actual king, its hypothetical earlier Proto-Greek form would be *gʷatileus. Most linguists assume that it is a non-Greek word, adopted by Bronze Age Greeks from a pre-existing linguistic Pre-Greek substrate of the Eastern Mediterranean. Schindler argues for an inner-Greek innovation of the -eus inflection type from Indo-European material rather than a Mediterranean loan; the first written instance of this word is found on the baked clay tablets discovered in excavations of Mycenaean palaces destroyed by fire.
The tablets are dated from the 15th century BC to the 11th century BC and are inscribed with the Linear B script, deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952 and corresponds to a early form of Greek. The word basileus is written as qa-si-re-u and its original meaning was "chieftain". Here the initial letter q- represents the PIE labiovelar consonant */gʷ/, transformed in Greek into /b/. Linear B uses the same glyph for /l/ and /r/, now uniformly written with a Latin "r" by convention. Linear B only depicts syllables of single vowel or consonant-vowel form, therefore the final -s is dropped altogether; the word can be contrasted with wanax, another word used more for "king" and meaning "High King" or "overlord". With the collapse of Mycenaean society, the position of wanax ceases to be mentioned, the basileis appear the topmost potentates in Greek society. In the works of Homer wanax appears, in the form ánax in descriptions of Zeus and of few human monarchs, most notably Agamemnon. Otherwise the term survived exclusively as a component in compound personal names and is still in use in Modern Greek in the description of the anáktoron/anáktora, i.e. of the royal palace.
The latter is the same word as wa-na-ka-te-ro, wanákteros, "of the wanax/king" or "belonging to the wanax/king", used in Linear B tablets to refer to various craftsmen serving the king, to things belonging or offered to the king. Most of the Greek leaders in Homer's works are described as basileís, conventionally rendered in English as "kings". However, a more accurate translation may be "princes" or "chieftains", which would better reflect conditions in Greek society in Homer's time, the roles ascribed to Homer's characters. Agamemnon tries to give orders to Achilles among many others, while another basileus serves as his charioteer, his will, however, is not to be automatically obeyed. In Homer the wanax is expected to rule over the other basileis by consensus rather than by coercion, why Achilles proudly and furiously rebels when he perceives that Agamemnon is unjustly bossing him around. A study by Robert Drews has demonstrated that at the apex of Geometric and Archaic Greek society, basileus does not automatically translate to "king".
In a number of places authority was exercised by a college of basileis drawn from a particular clan or group, the office had term limits. However, basileus could be applied to the hereditary leaders of "tribal" states, like those of the Arcadians and the Messenians, in which cases the term approximated the meaning of "king". According to pseudo-Archytas's treatise "On justice and law", quoted by Giorgio Agamben in State of Exception, Basileus is more adequately translated into "Sovereign" than into "king"; the reason for this is that it designates more the person of king than the office of king: the power of magistrates derives from their social functions or offices, whereas the sovereign derives his power from himself. Sovereigns have auctoritas. Pseudo-Archytas aimed at creating a theory of sovereignty enfranchised from laws, being itself the only source of legitimacy, he goes so far as qualifying the Basileus as nomos empsykhos, or "living law", the origin, according to Agamben, of the modern Führerprinzip and of Carl Schmitt's theories on dictatorship.
In classical times all Greek states had abolished the hereditary royal office in favor of democratic or oligarchic rule. Some exceptions existed, namely the two hereditary Kings of Sparta, the Kings of Syracuse, the Kings of Cyrene, the Kings of Macedon and of the Molossians in Epirus and Kings of Arcadian Orchomenus; the Greeks used the term to refer to various kings of "barbaric" tribes in Thrace and Illyria, as well as to the Achaemenid kings of Persia. The Persian king was referred to as Megas Basileus or Basileus Basileōn, a translation of the Persian title xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām, or "the king". There was a cult of Zeus Basileus at Lebadeia. Aristotle distinguished the basileus, constrained by law, from
History of the Byzantine Empire
This history of the Byzantine Empire covers the history of the Eastern Roman Empire from late antiquity until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD. Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the transitional period during which the Roman Empire's east and west divided. In 285, the emperor Diocletian partitioned the Roman Empire's administration into eastern and western halves. Between 324 and 330, Constantine I transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium known as Constantinople and Nova Roma. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and others such as Roman polytheism were proscribed, and under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use instead of Latin. Thus, although it continued the Roman state and maintained Roman state traditions, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Orthodox Christianity rather than Roman polytheism.
The borders of the Empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the Empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including north Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries. During the reign of Maurice, the Empire's eastern frontier was expanded and the north stabilised. However, his assassination caused a two-decade-long war with Sassanid Persia which exhausted the Empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. In a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arabs. During the Macedonian dynasty, the Empire again expanded and experienced a two-century long renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071; this battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia as a homeland.
The final centuries of the Empire exhibited a general trend of decline. It struggled to recover during the 12th century, but was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked and the Empire dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople and re-establishment of the Empire in 1261, Byzantium remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Roman Empire. During the 3rd century, three crises threatened the Roman Empire: external invasions, internal civil wars and an economy riddled with weaknesses and problems; the city of Rome became less important as an administrative centre. The crisis of the 3rd century displayed the defects of the heterogeneous system of government that Augustus had established to administer his immense dominion.
His successors had introduced some modifications, but events made it clearer that a new, more centralized and more uniform system was required. Diocletian was responsible for creating a new administrative system, he associated himself with Augustus. Each Augustus was to adopt a young colleague, or Caesar, to share in the rule and to succeed the senior partner. After the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, the tetrachy collapsed, Constantine I replaced it with the dynastic principle of hereditary succession. Constantine moved the seat of the Empire, introduced important changes into its civil and religious constitution. In 330, he founded Constantinople as a second Rome on the site of Byzantium, well-positioned astride the trade routes between East and West. Constantine began the building of the great fortified walls, which were expanded and rebuilt in subsequent ages. J. B. Bury asserts that "the foundation of Constantinople inaugurated a permanent division between the Eastern and Western, the Greek and the Latin, halves of the Empire—a division to which events had pointed—and affected decisively the whole subsequent history of Europe."Constantine built upon the administrative reforms introduced by Diocletian.
He stabilized the coinage, made changes to the structure of the army. Under Constantine, the Empire had recovered much of its military strength and enjoyed a period of stability and prosperity, he reconquered southern parts of Dacia, after defeating the Visigoths in 332, he was planning a campaign against Sassanid Persia as well. To divide administrative responsibilities, Constantine replaced the single praetorian prefect, who had traditionally exercised both military and civil functions, with regional prefects enjoying civil authority alone. In the course of the 4th century, four great sections emerged from these Constantinian beginnings, the practice of separating civil from military authority persisted until the 7th century. Constantine the Great inaugurated the Constantine's Bridge at Sucidava, in 328, in order to reconquer Dacia, a province, abandoned under Aurelian, he won a victory in the war and extended his control over the South Dacia, as remains of camps and fortifications in the region indicate.
Under Constantine, Christianity