211 Byzantine Empire Facts: Battles, Architecture, Inventions, And More | Kidadl


211 Byzantine Empire Facts: Battles, Architecture, Inventions, And More

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The Byzantine Empire was one of the most decisive periods in Roman history, and the influence of this period can be seen even today.

The Byzantine Empire is very different from the other Roman Empire. Religion and social traumas are major factors in the decline of this empire.

The Byzantine Empire was dotted with impressive architecture, new methods of warfare, and scientific accomplishments. Emperor Constantine was the first ruler of this empire. The empire had seen a lot of ups and downs during his reign. He was popularly known as Constantine the Great for his actions. The Byzantine Empire was a political continuation of the Roman Empire. The art and architecture of the time are reflections of the society of that time and indicate the role of the church during that period. It is also a credible representation of the Middle Ages. Roman laws were passed to mark the new aesthetic of the empire. During this time, many Byzantine rulers ruled, but among all of them, the Byzantine emperor Constantine was the noblest.

If you like this article about Byzantine Empire facts, be sure to check out Constantinople facts and Byzantine art facts.

Facts About The Byzantine Empire

The age of the Byzantine Empire was one of the most influential periods in history. The period experienced a lot of changes that shaped the foundation of the place. The Roman emperor Constantine I, the founder, established the city of Constantinople. Renamed several times since being established in 330 AD, some of its most popular names include Queen of Cities, Istinpolin, Stamboul, and last but not least, Istanbul. The empire existed for the longest span of time in Roman history, from 393 CE to 1453 CE, before it split into the Ottoman-Turkish onslaught.

The Byzantine Empire started after the ruler Constantine I shifted the capital from Rome to Byzantine. Constantine I was trying to help the empire shake off the previous Roman hangover and come to terms with the new policies and Roman law that he had brought in. His ways of convincing people against Roman frontiers, such as the Goth, was never seen before. Constantine I also approved a lot of financial and social laws for people.

The empire was unique in its way and saw the greatest changes during this time. This was the first time that an emperor has changed the whole face of the land by infusing new legislatures and by creating a completely new political system. The system even changed the art and architecture of that place.

The empire is also popularly known as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium and was known for its everlasting influence on art, architecture, religion, and many other critical aspects like laws that are still in use in the west. Russia and other countries of central Europe still benefit from the principles of the medieval Roman Empire.

The name of the empire emerges from the capital itself. A small Greek transit point in Constantinople was known as Byzantium. The name of the empire comes from this Greek colony. People of Byzantium were mostly Catholic who went to an Orthodox Catholic church. Christianity was marked as the official religion of the place.

The period of Byzantine rule was quite prosperous. The biggest achievements of this period are given below.

This empire saw the best architectural specimens as the time period was ideal for bringing something new to society, as we see in the architectural texture of the Hagia Sophia. The main goal was to keep the Roman legacy intact. The Hagia Sophia was an Orthodox church that was founded by Emperor Justinian I, and it is considered the best architectural structure of this Byzantine emperor.

Another big achievement of the empire was to preserve the Greek culture and language. Greek, the language spoken by almost everybody in that empire, was the official language. This way, emperors of the Byzantine Empire protected the Greek culture from getting destroyed.

Another significant achievement of the era was to preserve the land from the western European invasion. The Byzantine Empire was very strong against attacks by other European countries. The invention of Greek fire was extremely useful during such harsh times.

The Byzantine Empire was infamous for its severe punishments. War criminals were often mutilated in public after losing in the war or being dethroned from the seat. Instead of killing them, people of the Byzantine Empire would cut off the ear or nose or some other minor body part and leave the person to bleed and suffer.

The Byzantine Empire's Architecture

The architecture of that era is one of the key components for understanding the Roman Empire. The capital city of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey) has a combined medieval architecture that has both Roman and Greek influence. The addition of a dome on top of a square basilica was part of the Byzantine Empire's architecture. The early Byzantine Empire was a continuation of Roman architecture.

It was a period of change for architecture. More and more new construction materials were invented every day, such as new bricks being used instead of clay. Similarly, the architecture of that time was quite geometrically complex. The use of plaster instead of stones for decoration, using mosaic, and using thin sheets of alabaster in windows were common.

The Imperial Palace is the palace where the greatest emperor in the history of time resided. The use of different types of mosaic along with the great dome gives the palace a true architectural sense of that time. The Palace of Daphne is the oldest place in the palace. At that time, a garden was a must in every Roman aristocrat villa. You can find a sense of Roman architecture in every nook and corner of this palace.

One distinctive feature of the architecture of that time is the use of embellishments. The architecture of the empire was to promote the rise of Christianity. Christians of the land no longer needed to pray in fear, and the dome was a representation of that. This is why the Byzantine Dome is considered a symbol of hope.

Byzantine architecture has inspired sculptors, architects, and painters for generations.

The Byzantine Empire's Inventions

Let's learn about some of the biggest inventions of the time. These inventions were mostly to make the kingdom more politically powerful.

The biggest invention of the time was Greek fire. Greek fire, as discussed earlier, was a weapon from which liquid flame was thrown out. The weapon had an open-end from where fire would come out with extreme air pressure. The weapon was used to prevent any war in the kingdom. Because of the weapon's great combustibility, it was used by the Byzantine Navy to torch all the enemy ships.

These weapons were used to guard the Byzantine territory so that no enemy could attack. Greek fire was also used by the Byzantine Army to protect the Byzantine capital of Constantinople.

The period witnessed several other inventions, such as the musical instrument the pipe organ. It is a musical device that can produce a number of timbres. It was used as a symbol of the voice of God in the Byzantine Empire. Another great invention of that empire was portable sundials. These instruments were important as they would detect the time of the day by finding out the position or the phase of the Sun during the day and the Moon at night.

The most interesting invention of the period is the fork. The most common cutlery of modern times was invented in this period. The Byzantine Empire was quite advanced in the field of science. Even the structure of the modern Gregorian calendar comes from this period.

Theories provided by philosophers of that time have proved to be true in the modern world. Theories such as the Earth being a sphere and the idea about the difference in time of the rising and setting sun from one place to another, had been talked about in the Byzantine Empire first. Many other inventions took place to improve communications. Ship mills, hydraulics, and water cisterns were also invented during the era of the Byzantine Empire.

The Byzantine Empire also had strong communications. Rulers of this empire invented a way to communicate with military regions all across Asia within one hour. Beacons were used to transmit data with the help of synchronized clocks.

Battles of The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire had been witness to a number of violent battles in its duration of 1,000 years. Many dynasties have ruled in the Byzantine Empire, but among all of them, the most crucial wars took place during the reign of Emperor Justinian. 

The empire had the maximum number of soldiers during Emperor Justinian's reign. He had an army of more than 350,000 soldiers. He is considered one of the most influential leaders of the Byzantine Empire, expanding his reign to cover Spain, Africa, and the majority of Italy.

Two major wars broke out when Arabs sieged the empire twice. The first siege of Constantinople started in the year 674 AD and continued for four years. Another Arab siege took place in the Byzantine Empire from 717-718 AD. The Arab conquest was a way through which Islam first entered the Byzantine Empire.

The most important battle of all was the Battle of Manzikert. The battle broke out between the Seljuq Empire and the Eastern Empire. After intense efforts from the military service, the Byzantine Empire lost the battle. As a result, the Byzantine ruler of that time, Romanos IV, was captured. This is considered the lowest point in Byzantine history. Manzikert's victory was symbolic to the Ottoman Turks as it marked the beginning of their rule and the starting of the end of the Byzantine Empire. Their newfound powers gave them the authority to enter the empire through the Mediterranean Sea.

This incident was followed by the civil war that broke out after John V was found to be in support of the Turkish and Venetian troops. 10,000 Ottoman troops marched in to destroy the city of Thrace. After the plundering, there was nothing left in that city. All disciplines of society were lost during these tough times. The political structure of the empire became very weak. There was no civil law to protect the citizens and they became a bit too vulnerable in the Byzantine Empire during the 12th century.

Just a few years after this incident, more than 4,000 troops were killed by Turks in Demotika. This was the first victory of the Ottoman Empire against the Byzantine Empire. Ottoman rulers continued their conquest. Within two years, Turkish invaders managed to demolish most of the empire's military. As a result, Gallipoli was captured. This capture marked the end of the Eastern Empire and the beginning of the Ottoman Empire.

Ottoman Turks conquered the city of Constantinople in the year 1453. The army was under the rule of Ottoman ruler Sultan Mehmed II. After his arrival in the city, he immediately formed troops and laid siege on the city for 55 days. He fired cannon after cannon towards the city until the fortress walls were in debris. This is how the Byzantine Empire came to an end.

Over the years, historians have had different opinions regarding the cause of the decline of Constantinople. Some say it was the absence of unity that led to the civil war, whereas others are of the opinion that the constant attack from foreign invaders weakened the core of the civil law and the Catholic church, which later resulted in the decline.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 211 Byzantine Empire facts: battles, architecture, inventions, and more then why not take a look at Carthage facts or Colosseum in Rome facts?

Kidadl Team
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Kidadl Team

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