Vellum is prepared animal skin or "membrane" used as a material for writing on. The term is derived from the Latin word vitulinum meaning "made from calf", leading to Old French velin for "calfskin". Parchment is another term for this material category. If vellum is distinguished, it is by vellum being made from calf skin, as opposed to that from other animals, or otherwise being of higher quality. Vellum is prepared as a surface for writing to produce single pages, codices or books. Modern scholars and custodians use only the safe, if confusing, term "membrane". Depending on factors such as the method of preparation it may be hard to determine the animal species involved without using a laboratory, the term avoids the need to distinguish between vellum and parchment. Vellum is smooth and durable, although there are great variations depending on preparation and the quality of the skin; the manufacture involves the cleaning, stretching on a frame, scraping of the skin with a crescent-shaped knife.
To create tension, scraping is alternated with drying. A final finish may be achieved by abrading the surface with pumice, treating with a preparation of lime or chalk to make it accept writing or printing ink. Modern "paper vellum" is made of synthetic plant material, is called such for its usage and quality similarities. Paper vellum is used for a variety of purposes including tracing, technical drawings and blueprints. In Europe, from Roman times, the term "vellum" was used for the best quality of prepared skin, regardless of the animal from which the hide was obtained, calf and goat all being used. Although the term derives from the French for "calf", animal vellum can include hide from any other mammal; the best quality, "uterine vellum", was said to be made from the skins of stillborn or unborn animals, although the term was applied to fine quality skins made from young animals. There has long been, much blurring of the boundaries between these terms. In 1519, William Horman could write in his Vulgaria: "That stouffe that we wrytte upon, is made of beestis skynnes, is somtyme called parchement, somtyme velem, somtyme abortyve, somtyme membraan."
Writing in 1936, Lee Ustick explained that: To-day the distinction, among collectors of manuscripts, is that vellum is a refined form of skin, parchment a cruder form thick, less polished than vellum, but with no distinction between skin of calf, or sheep, or of goat. French sources, closer to the original etymology, tend to define velin as from calf only, while the British Standards Institution defines parchment as made from the split skin of several species, vellum from the unsplit skin. In the usage of modern practitioners of the artistic crafts of writing, illuminating and bookbinding, "vellum" is reserved for calfskin, while any other skin is called "parchment". Vellum is a translucent material produced from the skin split, of a young animal; the skin is washed with water and lime, but not together. It is soaked in lime for several days to soften and remove the hair. Once clear, the two sides of the skin are distinct: the side facing inside the animal and the hair side; the "inside body side" of the skin is the lighter and more refined of the two.
The hair follicles may be visible on the outer side, together with any scarring made while the animal was alive. The membrane can show the pattern of the animal's vein network called the "veining" of the sheet. Any remaining hair is removed and the skin is dried by attaching it to a frame; the skin is attached at points around the circumference with cords. The maker uses a crescent shaped knife, to clean off any remaining hairs. Once the skin is dry, it is cleaned and processed into sheets; the number of sheets extracted from the piece of skin depends on the size of the skin and the given dimensions requested by the order. For example, the average calfskin can provide three and half medium sheets of writing material; this can be doubled when it is folded into two conjoint leaves known as a bifolium. Historians have found evidence of manuscripts where the scribe wrote down the medieval instructions now followed by modern membrane makers; the membrane is rubbed with a round, flat object to ensure that the ink would adhere well.
Once the vellum is prepared, traditionally a quire is formed of a group of several sheets. Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham point out, in their Introduction to Manuscript Studies, that "the quire was the scribe's basic writing unit throughout the Middle Ages". Guidelines are made on the membrane, they note "'pricking' is the process of making holes in a sheet of parchment in preparation of its ruling. The lines were made by ruling between the prick marks... The process of entering ruled lines on the page to serve as a guide for entering text. Most manuscripts were ruled with horizontal lines that served as the baselines on which the text was entered and with vertical bounding lines that marked the boundaries of the columns". Most of the finer sort of medieval manuscripts, whether illuminated or not, were written on vellum; some Gandharan Buddhist texts were written on vellum, all Sifrei Torah are written on kosher klaf or vellum. A quarter of the 180 copy edition of Johannes Gutenberg's
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented with such decoration as initials and miniature illustrations. In the strictest definition, the term refers only to manuscripts decorated with either gold or silver. Comparable Far Eastern and Mesoamerican works are described as painted. Islamic manuscripts may be referred to as illuminated, illustrated or painted, though using the same techniques as Western works; the earliest extant substantive illuminated manuscripts are from the period 400 to 600, produced in the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire. Their significance lies not only in their inherent artistic and historical value, but in the maintenance of a link of literacy offered by non-illuminated texts. Had it not been for the monastic scribes of Late Antiquity, most literature of Greece and Rome would have perished; as it was, the patterns of textual survivals were shaped by their usefulness to the constricted literate group of Christians. Illumination of manuscripts, as a way of aggrandizing ancient documents, aided their preservation and informative value in an era when new ruling classes were no longer literate, at least in the language used in the manuscripts.
The majority of extant manuscripts are from the Middle Ages, although many survive from the Renaissance, along with a limited number from Late Antiquity. The majority are of a religious nature. From the 13th century onward, an increasing number of secular texts were illuminated. Most illuminated manuscripts were created as codices. A few illuminated fragments survive on papyrus, which does not last nearly as long as parchment. Most medieval manuscripts, illuminated or not, were written on parchment, but most manuscripts important enough to illuminate were written on the best quality of parchment, called vellum. Beginning in the Late Middle Ages, manuscripts began to be produced on paper. Early printed books were sometimes produced with spaces left for rubrics and miniatures, or were given illuminated initials, or decorations in the margin, but the introduction of printing led to the decline of illumination. Illuminated manuscripts continued to be produced in the early 16th century but in much smaller numbers for the wealthy.
They are among the most common items to survive from the Middle Ages. They are the best surviving specimens of medieval painting, the best preserved. Indeed, for many areas and time periods, they are the only surviving examples of painting. Art historians classify illuminated manuscripts into their historic periods and types, including Late Antique, Carolingian manuscripts, Ottonian manuscripts, Romanesque manuscripts, Gothic manuscripts, Renaissance manuscripts. There are a few examples from periods; the type of book most heavily and richly illuminated, sometimes known as a "display book", varied between periods. In the first millennium, these were most to be Gospel Books, such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells; the Romanesque period saw the creation of many large illuminated complete Bibles – one in Sweden requires three librarians to lift it. Many Psalters were heavily illuminated in both this and the Gothic period. Single cards or posters of vellum, leather or paper were in wider circulation with short stories or legends on them about the lives of saints, chivalry knights or other mythological figures criminal, social or miraculous occurrences.
The Book of Hours commonly the personal devotional book of a wealthy layperson, was richly illuminated in the Gothic period. Other books, both liturgical and not, continued to be illuminated at all periods; the Byzantine world produced manuscripts in its own style, versions of which spread to other Orthodox and Eastern Christian areas. The Muslim World and in particular the Iberian Peninsula, with their traditions of literacy uninterrupted by the Middle Ages, were instrumental in delivering ancient classic works to the growing intellectual circles and universities of Western Europe all through the 12th century, as books were produced there in large numbers and on paper for the first time in Europe, with them full treatises on the sciences astrology and medicine where illumination was required to have profuse and accurate representations with the text; the Gothic period, which saw an increase in the production of these artifacts saw more secular works such as chronicles and works of literature illuminated.
Wealthy people began to build up personal libraries. Up to the 12th century, most manuscripts were produced in monasteries in order to add to the library or after receiving a commission from a wealthy patron. Larger monasteries contained separate areas for the monks who specialized in the production of manuscripts called a scriptorium. Within the walls of a scriptorium were individualized areas where a monk could sit and work on a manuscript without being disturbed by his fellow brethren. If no scriptorium was available “separate little rooms were assigned to book copying.
The Varangian Guard was an elite unit of the Byzantine Army from the tenth to the fourteenth century, whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Byzantine Emperors. The Varangian Guard was known for being composed of recruits from northern Europe, including Norsemen from Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxons from England; the recruitment of distant foreigners from outside Byzantium to serve as the emperor's personal guard was pursued as a deliberate policy, as they lacked local political loyalties and could be counted upon to suppress revolts by disloyal Byzantine factions. The Rus' provided the earliest members of the Varangian Guard, they were in Byzantine service from as early as 874. The Guard was first formally constituted under Emperor Basil II in 988, following the Christianization of Kievan Rus' by Vladimir I of Kiev. Vladimir, who had usurped power in Kiev with an army of Varangian warriors, sent 6,000 men to Basil as part of a military assistance agreement. Basil's distrust of the native Byzantine guardsmen, whose loyalties shifted, with fatal consequences, as well as the proven loyalty of the Varangians, many of whom had served in Byzantium, led the Emperor to employ them as his personal guardsmen.
Immigrants from Sweden, Denmark and Iceland kept a predominantly Norse cast to the organization until the late 11th century. According to the late Swedish historian Alf Henrikson in his book Svensk Historia, the Scandinavian Varangian guardsmen were recognized by long hair, a red ruby set in the left ear and ornamented dragons sewn on their chainmail shirts. In these years, Scandinavian men left to enlist in the Byzantine Varangian Guard in such numbers that a medieval Swedish law, Västergötlagen, from Västergötland declared no one could inherit while staying in "Greece"—the Scandinavian term for the Byzantine Empire—to stop the emigration as two other European courts also recruited Scandinavians: Kievan Rus' c. 980–1060 and London 1018–1066. Composed of Norsemen and Rus for the first 100 years, the Guard began to see increased numbers of Anglo-Saxons after the Norman conquest of England. By the time of the Emperor Alexios Komnenos in the late 11th century, the Varangian Guard was recruited from Anglo-Saxons and "others who had suffered at the hands of the Vikings and their cousins the Normans".
The Anglo-Saxons and other Germanic peoples shared with the Vikings a tradition of faithful oath-bound service, the Norman invasion of England resulted in many fighting men who had lost their lands and former masters and were looking for positions elsewhere. The Varangian Guard not only provided security for the Byzantine emperors, but participated in many wars playing a decisive role, since they were deployed at critical moments of a battle. By the late 13th century, Varangians were ethnically assimilated by the Byzantine Greeks, though the Guard remained in existence until at least mid-14th century. In 1400, there were still some people identifying themselves as "Varangians" in Constantinople; the earliest members of the Varangian guard came from Kievan Rus'. A treaty between Rus' and the Byzantine empire under Basil I was agreed in 874 after a period of hostilities. A clause in the treaty obliged Rus' to provide men for Byzantine service. Renewed hostilities between 907 and 911 ended with a new treaty under which any Rus' who chose could serve Byzantium as a right.
As early as 911, Varangians are mentioned as fighting as mercenaries for the Byzantines. About 700 Varangians served along with Dalmatians as marines in Byzantine naval expeditions against the Emirate of Crete in 902 and a force of 629 returned to Crete under Constantine Porphyrogenitus in 949. A unit of 415 Varangians was involved in the Italian expedition of 936, it is recorded that there were Varangian contingents among the forces that fought the Arabs in Syria in 955. During this period, the Varangian mercenaries were included in the Great Companions. In 988, Basil II requested military assistance from Vladimir I of Kiev to help defend his throne. In compliance with the treaty made by his father after the Siege of Dorostolon, Vladimir sent 6,000 men to Basil. Vladimir took the opportunity to rid himself of his most unruly warriors which in any case he was unable to pay; this is the presumptive date for the permanent institution of an elite guard. In exchange for the warriors, Vladimir was given Anna, in marriage.
Vladimir agreed to convert to Christianity and to bring his people into the Christian faith. In 989, these Varangians, led by Basil II himself, landed at Chrysopolis to defeat the rebel general Bardas Phokas. On the field of battle, Phokas died of a stroke in full view of his opponent; the brutality of the Varangians was noted when they pursued the fleeing army and "cheerfully hacked them to pieces". These men formed the nucleus of the Varangian Guard, which saw extensive service in southern Italy in the eleventh century, as the Normans and Lombards worked to extinguish Byzantine authority there. In 1018, Basil II received a request from his catepan of Italy, Basil Boioannes, for reinforcements to put down the Lombard revolt of Melus of Bari. A detachment of the Varangian Guard was sent and in the Battle of Cannae, the Byzantines achieved a decisive victory; the Varangians participated in the partial reconquest of Sicily from the Arabs under George Maniakes in 1038. Here, they fought alongside Normans arrived in Italy seeking adventure and Lombards from Byzantine-held Apulia.
A prominent member of the Guard at this time was Harald Hardrada King o
Istanbul known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the most populous city in Turkey and the country's economic and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosporus strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives in suburbs on the Asian side of the Bosporus. With a total population of around 15 million residents in its metropolitan area, Istanbul is one of the world's most populous cities, ranking as the world's fourth largest city proper and the largest European city; the city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Istanbul is viewed as a bridge between the West. Founded under the name of Byzantion on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BCE, the city grew in size and influence, becoming one of the most important cities in history. After its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 CE, it served as an imperial capital for 16 centuries, during the Roman/Byzantine, Palaiologos Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 CE and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate. The city's strategic position on the historic Silk Road, rail networks to Europe and the Middle East, the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean have produced a cosmopolitan populace. While Ankara was chosen instead as the new Turkish capital after the Turkish War of Independence, the city's name was changed to Istanbul, the city has maintained its prominence in geopolitical and cultural affairs; the population of the city has increased tenfold since the 1950s, as migrants from across Anatolia have moved in and city limits have expanded to accommodate them. Arts, music and cultural festivals were established towards the end of the 20th century and continue to be hosted by the city today. Infrastructure improvements have produced a complex transportation network in the city.
12.56 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2015, five years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world's fifth most popular tourist destination. The city's biggest attraction is its historic center listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its cultural and entertainment hub is across the city's natural harbor, the Golden Horn, in the Beyoğlu district. Considered a global city, Istanbul has one of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies in the world, it hosts the headquarters of many Turkish companies and media outlets and accounts for more than a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. Hoping to capitalize on its revitalization and rapid expansion, Istanbul has bid for the Summer Olympics five times in twenty years; the first known name of the city is Byzantium, the name given to it at its foundation by Megarean colonists around 660 BCE. The name is thought to be derived from Byzas. Ancient Greek tradition refers to a legendary king of that name as the leader of the Greek colonists.
Modern scholars have hypothesized that the name of Byzas was of local Thracian or Illyrian origin and hence predated the Megarean settlement. After Constantine the Great made it the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire in 330 CE, the city became known as Constantinople, which, as the Latinized form of "Κωνσταντινούπολις", means the "City of Constantine", he attempted to promote the name "Nova Roma" and its Greek version "Νέα Ῥώμη" Nea Romē, but this did not enter widespread usage. Constantinople remained the most common name for the city in the West until the establishment of the Turkish Republic, which urged other countries to use Istanbul. Kostantiniyye and Be Makam-e Qonstantiniyyah al-Mahmiyyah and İstanbul were the names used alternatively by the Ottomans during their rule; the use of Constantinople to refer to the city during the Ottoman period is now considered politically incorrect if not inaccurate, by Turks. By the 19th century, the city had acquired other names used by Turks. Europeans used Constantinople to refer to the whole of the city, but used the name Stamboul—as the Turks did—to describe the walled peninsula between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara.
Pera was used to describe the area between the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, but Turks used the name Beyoğlu. The name İstanbul is held to derive from the Medieval Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν", which means "to the city" and is how Constantinople was referred to by the local Greeks; this reflected its status as the only major city in the vicinity. The importance of Constantinople in the Ottoman world was reflected by its Ottoman name'Der Saadet' meaning the'gate to Prosperity' in Ottoman. An alternative view is that the name evolved directly from the name Constantinople, with the first and third syllables dropped. A Turkish folk etymology traces the name to Islam bol "plenty of Islam" because the city was called Islambol or Islambul as the capital of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, it is first attested shortly after the conquest
A putto is a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child naked and sometimes winged. Limited to profane passions in symbolism, the putto came to represent the sacred cherub. A putto representing a cupid is called an amorino or amoretto; the more found form putti is the plural of the Italian word putto. The Italian word comes from the Latin word putus, meaning "boy" or "child". Today, in Italian, putto means either toddler winged angel or toddler boy, it may have been derived from the same Indo-European root as the Sanskrit word "putra", Avestan puθra-, Old Persian puça-, Pahlavi pus and pusar, all meaning "son", the New Persian pesar "boy, son". Putti, in the ancient classical world of art, were winged infants that were believed to influence human lives. In Renaissance art, the form of the putto was derived in various ways including the Greek Eros or Roman Amor/Cupid, the god of love and companion of Aphrodite or Venus. Putti are a classical motif found on child sarcophagi of the 2nd century, where they are depicted fighting, participating in bacchic rites, playing sports, etc.
The putto was revived during the Quattrocento. The revival of the figure of the putto is attributed to Donatello, in Florence in the 1420s, although there are some earlier manifestations. Since Donatello has been called the originator of the putto because of the contribution to art he made in restoring the classical form of putto, he gave putto a distinct character by infusing the form with Christian meanings and using it in new contexts such as musician angels. Putti began to feature in works showing figures from classical mythology, which became popular in the same period. Most Renaissance putti are decorative and they ornament both religious and secular works, without taking any actual part in the events depicted in narrative paintings. There are two popular forms of the putto as the main subject of a work of art in 16th-century Italian Renaissance art: the sleeping putto and the standing putto with an animal or other object. Putti and angels can be found in both religious and secular art from the 1420s in Italy, the turn of the 16th century in the Netherlands and Germany, the Mannerist period and late Renaissance in France, throughout Baroque ceiling frescoes.
So many artists have depicted them that a list would be pointless, but among the best-known are the sculptor Donatello and the painter Raphael. The two relaxed and curious putti who appear at the foot of Raphael's Sistine Madonna are reproduced, they experienced a major revival in the 19th century, where they gamboled through paintings by French academic painters, from Gustave Doré’s illustrations for Orlando Furioso to advertisements. The iconography of putti is deliberately unfixed, so that it is difficult to tell the difference between putti and various forms of angels, they have no unique identifiable attributes, so that putti may have many meanings and roles in the context of art. Some of the more common associations are: Associations with Aphrodite, so with romantic—or erotic—love Associations with Heaven Associations with peace, prosperity and leisure A putto is the main character in the 2010 webcomic The Sorrowful Putto of Prague by James Stafford and A. J. Bernardo. In popular culture, putto is used as a decorative art found on buildings and greeting cards as a purveyor of love.
A putto smoking a cigarette served as the cover art for Van Halen's album 1984. There is one adorning the main characters' wedding cake in Madame Bovary. A putto is the protagonist of the 2000 third person shooter Messiah. In the British TV series Doctor Who, infants of the species Weeping Angels appear as putti. In the 1st-person shooter Team Fortress 2, the Meet the Pyro video has the BLU Team appear as putti in Pyroland. In the 2003 video game Drakengard, a group of malevolent god-like figures known as the Watchers appear as putti; the historiography of this subject matter is short. Many art historians have commented on the importance of the putto in art, but few have undertaken a major study. One useful scholarly examination is Charles Dempsey. Warburg Institute Iconographic Database: ca. 1,400 images of Amorini in secular contexts
Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, its cultural and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union; until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC; the city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.
Apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is said to be "The City of Dreams" because it was home to the world's first psychoanalyst – Sigmund Freud. The city's roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a Medieval and Baroque city, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it is well known for having played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, the late-19th-century Ringstraße lined with grand buildings and parks. Vienna is known for its high quality of life. In a 2005 study of 127 world cities, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the city first for the world's most liveable cities. Between 2011 and 2015, Vienna was ranked second, behind Melbourne. In 2018, it replaced Melbourne as the number one spot. For ten consecutive years, the human-resource-consulting firm Mercer ranked Vienna first in its annual "Quality of Living" survey of hundreds of cities around the world.
Monocle's 2015 "Quality of Life Survey" ranked Vienna second on a list of the top 25 cities in the world "to make a base within."The UN-Habitat classified Vienna as the most prosperous city in the world in 2012/2013. The city was ranked 1st globally for its culture of innovation in 2007 and 2008, sixth globally in the 2014 Innovation Cities Index, which analyzed 162 indicators in covering three areas: culture and markets. Vienna hosts urban planning conferences and is used as a case study by urban planners. Between 2005 and 2010, Vienna was the world's number-one destination for international congresses and conventions, it attracts over 6.8 million tourists a year. The English name Vienna is borrowed from the homonymous Italian version of the city's name or the French Vienne; the etymology of the city's name is still subject to scholarly dispute. Some claim that the name comes from Vedunia, meaning "forest stream", which subsequently produced the Old High German Uuenia, the New High German Wien and its dialectal variant Wean.
Others believe that the name comes from the Roman settlement name of Celtic extraction Vindobona meaning "fair village, white settlement" from Celtic roots, vindo-, meaning "bright" or "fair" – as in the Irish fionn and the Welsh gwyn –, -bona "village, settlement". The Celtic word Vindos may reflect a widespread prehistorical cult of a Celtic God. A variant of this Celtic name could be preserved in the Czech and Polish names of the city and in that of the city's district Wieden; the name of the city in Hungarian, Serbo-Croatian and Ottoman Turkish has a different Slavonic origin, referred to an Avar fort in the area. Slovene-speakers call the city Dunaj, which in other Central European Slavic languages means the Danube River, on which the city stands. Evidence has been found of continuous habitation in the Vienna area since 500 BC, when Celts settled the site on the Danube River. In 15 BC the Romans fortified the frontier city they called Vindobona to guard the empire against Germanic tribes to the north.
Close ties with other Celtic peoples continued through the ages. The Irish monk Saint Colman is buried in Melk Abbey and Saint Fergil served as Bishop of Salzburg for forty years. Irish Benedictines founded twelfth-century monastic settlements. Evidence of these ties persists in the form of Vienna's great Schottenstift monastery, once home to many Irish monks. In 976 Leopold I of Babenberg became count of the Eastern March, a 60-mile district centering on the Danube on the eastern frontier of Bavaria; this initial district grew into the duchy of Austria. Each succeeding Babenberg ruler expanded the march east along the Danube encompassing Vienna and the lands east. In 1145 Duke Henry II Jasomirgott moved the Babenberg family residence from Klosterneuburg in Lower Austria to Vienna. From that time, Vienna remained the center of the Babenberg dynasty. In 1440 Vienna became the resident city of the Habsburg dynasty, it grew to become the de facto capital of the Holy Roman Empire in 1437 and a cultural centre for arts and science and fine cuisine.
Hungary occupied the city between 1485 and 1490. In the 16th and 1
Late antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, the Near East. The popularization of this periodization in English has been accredited to historian Peter Brown, after the publication of his seminal work The World of Late Antiquity. Precise boundaries for the period are a continuing matter of debate, but Brown proposes a period between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century to, in the East, the early Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century. In the West the end was earlier, with the start of the Early Middle Ages placed in the 6th century, or earlier on the edges of the Western Roman Empire; the Roman Empire underwent considerable social and organizational changes starting with the reign of Diocletian, who began the custom of splitting the Empire into Eastern and Western halves ruled by multiple emperors.
Beginning with Constantine the Great, Christianity was made legal in the Empire, a new capital was founded at Constantinople. Migrations of Germanic tribes disrupted Roman rule from the late 4th century onwards, culminating in the eventual collapse of the Empire in the West in 476, replaced by the so-called barbarian kingdoms; the resultant cultural fusion of Greco-Roman and Christian traditions formed the foundations of the subsequent culture of Europe. The term Spätantike "late antiquity", has been used by German-speaking historians since its popularization by Alois Riegl in the early 20th century, it was given currency in English by the writings of Peter Brown, whose survey The World of Late Antiquity revised the post-Gibbon view of a stale and ossified Classical culture, in favour of a vibrant time of renewals and beginnings, whose The Making of Late Antiquity offered a new paradigm of understanding the changes in Western culture of the time in order to confront Sir Richard Southern's The Making of the Middle Ages.
The continuities between the Roman Empire, as it was reorganized by Diocletian, the Early Middle Ages are stressed by writers who wish to emphasize that the seeds of medieval culture were developing in the Christianized empire, that they continued to do so in the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire at least until the coming of Islam. Concurrently, some migrating Germanic tribes such as the Ostrogoths and Visigoths saw themselves as perpetuating the "Roman" tradition. While the usage "Late Antiquity" suggests that the social and cultural priorities of Classical Antiquity endured throughout Europe into the Middle Ages, the usage of "Early Middle Ages" or "Early Byzantine" emphasizes a break with the classical past, the term "Migration Period" tends to de-emphasize the disruptions in the former Western Roman Empire caused by the creation of Germanic kingdoms within her borders beginning with the foedus with the Goths in Aquitania in 418; the general decline of population, technological knowledge and standards of living in Europe during this period became the archetypal example of societal collapse for writers from the Renaissance.
As a result of this decline, the relative scarcity of historical records from Europe in particular, the period from the early fifth century until the Carolingian Renaissance was referred to as the "Dark Ages". This term has been abandoned as a name for a historiographical epoch, being replaced by "Late Antiquity" in the periodization of the late West Roman Empire, the early Byzantine empire and the Early Middle Ages. One of the most important transformations in Late Antiquity was the formation and evolution of the Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism and Islam. A milestone in the rise of Christianity was the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Great in 312, as claimed by his Christian panegyrist Eusebius of Caesarea, although the sincerity of his conversion is debated. Constantine confirmed the legalization of the religion through the so-called Edict of Milan in 313, jointly issued with his rival in the East, Licinius. By the late 4th century, Emperor Theodosius the Great had made Christianity the State religion, thereby transforming the Classical Roman world, which Peter Brown characterized as "rustling with the presence of many divine spirits."Constantine I was a key figure in many important events in Christian history, as he convened and attended the first ecumenical council of bishops at Nicaea in 325, subsidized the building of churches and sanctuaries such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, involved himself in questions such as the timing of Christ's resurrection and its relation to the Passover.
The birth of Christian monasticism in the deserts of Egypt in the 3rd century, which operated outside the episcopal authority of the Church, would become so successful that by the 8th century it penetrated the Church and became the primary Christian practice. Monasticism was not the only new Christian movement to appear in late antiquity, although it had the greatest influence. Other movements notable for their unconventional practices include the Grazers, holy men who ate only grass and chained themselves up. Late Antiquity marks the decline of Roman state religion, circumscribed in degrees by edicts inspired by Christian advisors such as Eusebius to 4th century emperors, a period of dynamic religious experimentation and spirituality with many syncretic sects, some formed centuries earl