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The Byzantine Empire was the predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally known as Byzantium. Initially the eastern half of the Roman Empire (often called the Eastern Roman Empire in this context), it survived the 5th century fragmentation and collapse of the Western Roman Empire and continued to thrive, existing 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, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms applied in later centuries; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the "Empire of the Romans" (Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, translit. Basileia Rhōmaiōn), and "Land of the Romans" (Greek: Ῥωμανία, translit. Rhōmania).

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 (r. 284–305) partitioned the Roman Empire's administration into eastern and western halves. Between 324 and 330, Constantine I (r. 306–337) transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium, later known as Constantinople ("City of Constantine") and New Rome. Under Theodosius I (r. 379–395), Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and others such as Roman polytheism were proscribed. And finally, under the reign of Heraclius (r. 610–641), the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use instead of Latin. In summation, Byzantium is distinguished from ancient Rome proper insofar as it was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by Orthodox Christianity rather than Roman polytheism.

The borders of the Empire evolved a great deal over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the Empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the historically Roman western Mediterranean coast, including north Africa, Italy, and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries. During the reign of Maurice (r. 582–602), the Empire's eastern frontier was expanded and 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. During the 10th-century Macedonian dynasty, the Empire experienced a golden age, which culminated in the reign of Emperor Basil II "the Bulgar-Slayer" (r. 976–1025). However, shortly after Basil's death, a neglect of the vast military built up during the Late Macedonian dynasty caused the Empire to begin to lose territory in Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks. Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes (r. 1068–1071) and several of his predecessors had attempted to rid Eastern Anatolia of the Turkish menace, but this endeavor proved ultimately untenable - especially after the disastrous Battle of Manzikert in 1071.

Despite a prominent period of revival (1081–1180) under the steady leadership of the Komnenos family, who played an instrumental role in the First and Second Crusades, the final centuries of the Empire exhibit a general trend of decline. In 1204, after a period of strife following the downfall of the Komnenos dynasty, the Empire was delivered a mortal blow by the forces of 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 a number of small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. This volatile period led to its progressive annexation by the Ottomans over the 15th century and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Selected article

The Byzantine economy was among the most advanced in Europe and the Mediterranean for many centuries. Constantinople was a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa. Some scholars argue that, up until the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century, the Empire had the most powerful economy in the world. The Arab conquests, however, would represent a substantial reversal of fortunes contributing to a period of decline and stagnation. Constantine V's reforms (c. 765) marked the beginning of a revival that continued until 1204. From the 10th century until the end of the 12th, the Byzantine Empire projected an image of luxury, and travelers were impressed by the wealth accumulated in the capital. All this changed with the arrival of the Fourth Crusade, which was an economic catastrophe. The Palaiologoi tried to revive the economy, but the late Byzantine state would not gain full control of either the foreign or domestic economic forces.

Selected biography

Basil II and Constantine VIII, holding cross. Nomisma histamenon.

Basil II, later surnamed the Bulgar-slayer (Greek: Βασίλειος Β΄ Βουλγαροκτόνος, Basileios II Boulgaroktonos, 958 – December 15, 1025), known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.

The first part of his long reign was dominated by civil war against powerful generals from the Anatolian aristocracy. Following their submission, Basil oversaw the stabilization and expansion of the Byzantine Empire's eastern frontier, and above all, the final and complete subjugation of Bulgaria, the Empire's foremost European foe, after a prolonged struggle. At his death, the Empire stretched from Southern Italy to the Caucasus and from the Danube to the borders of Palestine, its greatest territorial extent since the Muslim conquests, four centuries earlier.

Despite near-constant warfare, Basil also showed himself a capable administrator, reducing the power of the great land-owning families who dominated the Empire's administration and military, and filling the Empire's treasury. Of far-reaching importance was Basil's decision to offer the hand of his sister Anna to Vladimir I of Kiev in exchange for military support, which led to the Christianization of the Kievan Rus', and the incorporation of Russia within the Byzantine cultural sphere.

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New articles

May 2018

New articles

Constantine Komnenos Angelos • Mount Galesios • Petzeas • Siege of Thessalonica (676–678)

April 2018

New articles

Andronikos Komnenos (son of Alexios I) • Battle of Comacchio • Bisantius Guirdeliku • Byzantine Empire under the Amorian dynasty • Church of the Holy Trinity, Athens • Dalle Carceri • Epi tou stratou • Gregory Pakourianos the Younger • John Plytos • Megas adnoumiastes • Nikephoros Komnenos (brother of Alexios I) • Zerzevan Castle

March 2018

New articles

Argyritzos • Martyrs of Adrianople • Mauro-Roman Kingdom • Neilos Doxapatres • Nikephoros (son of Artabasdos)

Greatly expanded/rewritten articles

Leo Tornikios

February 2018

New articles

Byzantine Empire under the Leonid dynasty • Byzantine Empire under the Theodosian dynasty • Consistorium

January 2018

New articles

Avar–Byzantine wars • Battle of Dibaltum • Develtos • Dryinopolis • Joseph the Confessor • List of Trapezuntine emperors • Siege of Debeltos • Siege of Petra (549) • Symbatios the Armenian

Greatly expanded/rewritten articles

Tiberius (son of Justinian II)

December 2017

New articles

Church of St. Nicholas of the Roof • Dionysus mosaic, Samatya • Memnon of Ephesus • Mongol invasion of the Latin Empire • Panagia Tou Araka • Siege of Nisibis (573) • Stephen of Ephesus

November 2017

New articles

John the Eunuch (Trebizond) • Siege of Babylon Fortress

Greatly expanded/rewritten articles

Leonard of Chios • Ottoman conquest of Lesbos

October 2017

New articles

Battle of İnceğiz • Mihaloğlu Mehmed Bey • Pecheneg Revolt • Qarghuyah • Simon the Athonite

September 2017

New creations

Abu'l-Qasim Ali ibn al-Hasan al-Kalbi • Al-Hasan ibn al-Abbas • Anemas • Anemas (died 971) • Battle of Caltavuturo • Chronicle of Muntaner • Rebellion of Bardas Phokas the Younger • Siege of Rometta • Syrian campaigns of John Tzimiskes • Theodore Vatatzes • Treaty of Gallipoli

Greatly expanded/rewritten articles

Euphemius (Sicily)

August 2017

New creations

Battle of Melantias • Battle of Thannuris • Byzantine conquest of Cilicia • Byzantine Sardinia • Gabriele Trevisano • Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies • Kommata • Melantias • Metropolis of Ancyra • Nicaean–Latin wars • Siege of Chandax

July 2017

New creations

Byzantine–Venetian war of 1171 • Byzantium (play) • Garella • John Hagiopolites • Lazaros of Mount Galesios • Nikephoros Proteuon

Greatly expanded/rewritten articles

Isaac Komnenos (brother of Alexios I)

June 2017

New creations

Decarch (military rank) • Decius (exarch) • Leslie Brubaker • Phoulloi • Prostagma • Zichia

Greatly expanded/rewritten articles

Megas logothetes • Nicopsis • Pothos Argyros (11th century)

May 2017

New creations

Adramyttium • Battle of Larissa • Exisotes • John Belissariotes • Michael Stypiotes • Perenos • Stephen Pateranos • Theodore Kastamonites

Greatly expanded/rewritten articles

Andronikos Doukas Angelos


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Selected picture

Irenekirken.jpg

Photo credit:Nina-no

A simple cross, an example of iconoclast art from the Hagia Irene.

Recognised content

This is a list of articles related to the Byzantine Empire that have been recognized by the Wikipedia community as being of particular quality.

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Featured articles:

Basiliscus  • Battle of Dyrrhachium (1081)  • Battle of Kalavrye  • Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347  • Byzantine Empire  • Byzantine navy  • Chariot racing  • Greece runestones  • Gregory of Nazianzus  • Istanbul  • Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria  • Manuel I Komnenos  • Maximus the Confessor  • Paul Palaiologos Tagaris  • Roman–Persian Wars  • Sack of Amorium  • Siege of Constantinople (674–678)  • Siege of Constantinople (717–718)  • Simeon I of Bulgaria  • Theodore Komnenos Doukas  • Thomas the Slav  • Treaty of Devol  • Jovan Vladimir

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A-class articles:

Abbasid invasion of Asia Minor (782)  • Abbasid invasion of Asia Minor (806)  • Abu'l-Aswar Shavur ibn Fadl  • Ahmad ibn Tulun  • Al-Mundhir III ibn al-Harith  • Bardanes Tourkos  • Battle of Lalakaon  • Battle of Solachon  • Bessas (general)  • Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628  • John Kourkouas  • John Troglita  • Junayd of Aydın  • Priscus (general)  • Siege of Thessalonica (1422–1430)  • Sviatoslav's invasion of Bulgaria  • Vitalian (general)

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Good articles:

Abdallah al-Battal  • Abu Taghlib  • Adrianos Komnenos  • Alexios Apokaukos  • Alexios Komnenos (protosebastos)  • Alexios Philanthropenos  • Alexios Strategopoulos  • Andronikos Doukas Angelos  • Artabanes (general)  • Avar–Byzantine wars  • Bardas  • Baths of Zeuxippus  • Battle of Akroinon  • Battle of Alexandretta  • Battle of Andrassos  • Battle of Anzen  • Battle of Apamea  • Battle of Arcadiopolis (970)  • Battle of Bathys Ryax  • Battle of Constantinople (922)  • Battle of Kleidion  • Battle of Kopidnadon  • Battle of Krasos  • Battle of Manzikert  • Battle of Mauropotamos  • Battle of the Gates of Trajan  • Battle of the Olive Grove of Koundouros  • Battle of Yarmouk  • Byzantine–Arab Wars  • Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 894–896  • Byzantine Empire under the Komnenos dynasty  • Byzantine Greeks  • Byzantine–Ottoman Wars  • Chalke  • Chlemoutsi  • Church of St. Polyeuctus  • Constantine Angelos  • Constantine Diogenes  • Constantine Doukas (usurper)  • Constantine Komnenos Angelos  • Constantine Lekapenos  • Constantine the Great  • Cutzinas  • David III of Tao  • Domestic of the Schools  • Droungarios of the Fleet  • Droungarios of the Watch  • Emirate of Crete  • Eustathios Argyros (general under Leo VI)  • Eustathios Daphnomeles  • Eutharic  • Euthymius I of Constantinople  • Gabras  • Geoffrey of Briel  • George Mouzalon  • Germanus (cousin of Justinian I)  • Glarentza  • Gubazes II of Lazica  • Guy Pallavicini  • Harald Hardrada  • Heraclius  • Heraclius (son of Constans II)  • Heraclius the Elder  • Isaac Komnenos (brother of Alexios I)  • John Doukas (megas doux)  • John Doukas (sebastokrator)  • John I Doukas of Thessaly  • John Komnenos (Domestic of the Schools)  • John Komnenos Asen  • John Komnenos the Fat  • John of Brienne  • John Palaiologos (brother of Michael VIII)  • Junayd of Aydın  • Justin (consul 540)  • Justinian I  • Law School of Beirut  • Leo II (emperor)  • Leo Tornikios  • Licario  • Manuel Erotikos Komnenos  • Manuel the Armenian  • Marianos Argyros  • Martino Zaccaria  • Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik  • Michael I Komnenos Doukas  • Michael Bourtzes  • Michael Dokeianos  • Michael Lachanodrakon  • Momchil  • al-Muktafi  • Muslim conquest of Sicily  • Nikephoros (Caesar)  • Nikephoros Komnenos  • Nikephoros Melissenos  • Nikephoros Phokas Barytrachelos  • Nikephoros Phokas the Elder  • Nikephoros Xiphias  • Orphanotrophos  • Ottoman conquest of Lesbos  • Peter the Patrician  • Protostrator  • Sack of Damietta (853)  • Sa'd al-Dawla  • Salih ibn Mirdas  • Sayf al-Dawla  • Shahrbaraz  • Siege of Berat (1280–1281)  • Siege of Constantinople (860)  • Siege of Damascus (634)  • Siege of Jerusalem (637)  • Siege of Kamacha (766)  • Siege of Nicaea (727)  • Siege of Patras (805 or 807)  • Siege of Syracuse (877–878)  • Siege of Tyana  • Solomon (Byzantine general)  • Staurakios (eunuch)  • Stephen Lekapenos  • Stylianos Zaoutzes  • Syrgiannes Palaiologos  • Theodore Synadenos  • Theodosius (son of Maurice)  • Theoktistos  • Turahan Bey  • Tzachas  • Umar al-Aqta  • Uprising of Ivaylo  • Vandalic War  • Walls of Constantinople

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