You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register

Total War History
Moderated by Pitt

Hop to:    
Topic Subject: Byzantine Empire
posted 08-27-12 10:29 AM EDT (US)   
One day I had fiery discussion with my classmate about, when did Byzantine Empire starts from...

I saw then 2 options:

1) It started during Constantine the Great´s reigning time, while building up new capital for the empire - Constantinople


2) When died last emperor who ruled over both Roman Empire sides - Theodosius I in 395 AD and Arcadius came to power in Eastern half of the Empire...

What yout think about this issue or any other possibilities...
posted 08-27-12 11:23 AM EDT (US)     1 / 8  
The Byzantine Empire did not simply start.

It was a partition of the entire Roman Empire under Diocletian, who divided the empire into halves to facilitate administration and control. Yada yada yada, then the western half fell, leaving only the eastern half, which still considered itself a Roman Empire, though the language of its courts later became Greek. It is this eastern half Roman Empire we call the Byzantine Empire.

A bit simplistic this answer, but it should suffice.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
posted 08-27-12 05:11 PM EDT (US)     2 / 8  
I forgot about Diolectian completely...he is familiar figure in my brains... :P...he halved it somewhere end 3rd century, in 280-s or something?? :O...I thought the reason was that whole Empire was too much for one emperor :P What else it could be??
posted 08-27-12 05:22 PM EDT (US)     3 / 8  
I would also note that the name "Byzantine Empire" arose after the fall of Constantinople and the end of the empire. It was first used in the mid 16th century.

As far as I am aware, all contemporaries considered it the Roman Empire.

The term is just a convenience to separate the Roman Empire by geography and time. Like referring the the United States as the Union during the American Civil War.
posted 08-27-12 11:35 PM EDT (US)     4 / 8  
As Cancer and Terikel have noted, the term Byzantine is an anachronism. The Eastern Roman Empire was considered Roman, and remained so after the fall of the Western Empire, notwithstanding the prevalence of Greek rather than Latin as the common language.

J. Lindsay, Byzantium into Europe (London: The Bodley Head, 1952), pp. 20-21:

But though the term Byzantine is a convenient term to define the culture of the later Roman Empire, we must always remember that it is of the later Roman Empire we are treating. Byzantium was founded as the result of a period of revolutionary shocks, but it was still the Roman Empire within which the changes took place.

... Latin remained for long the official language. Justinian's Code of Laws was issued in it; coin inscriptions were Latin till the eight century. The first wedge of Greek appeared in 439, in the orders of the prefect Cyros. The people's name for the new empire was Romania, which by the fifth century had become the current term, though unofficial, and held its own till the end, in the fifteenth century. Not only the Greeks used it, but also the foreign peoples who came up against the Empire. The Latin crusaders knew Romania, and the Seljuk Turks fought against Roum

The subjects of the emperor seated at Byzantium were Romans, and no one else had the right to use the name. When in 968 papal legates dared to submit letters in which Otto was called emperor of the Romans and Nikephoros emperor of the Greeks, they were thrown into jail; and in the 1488 treaty between the emperor John VIII and Venice the Greek text speaks of his subjects as Romaioi, but the Latin text translates as Graeci. At Byzantium Graikoi had an insulting colouration; and Hellenism was synonymous with paganism -- a Hellene was an idolator. Late in the thirteenth century humanists tried to change this meaning and to use Hellenism as a patriot term reminding men of the glorious past of Athens; but their revaluation had a limited circle. Even under the Turks the Christians of the Empire called themselves Romans, and still today the Patriarch of Constantinople is the Patriarch of the Romans.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
posted 08-28-12 06:14 AM EDT (US)     5 / 8  
In addition, Constantine I named his new capital Nova Roma (new Rome). The term Byzantine comes from the term Byzantium, the name of the Greek colony created where Constantinople stands in the 7th century BC. Back to the topic, I personally use the term Eastern Roman Empire from Arcadius to Phocas (395-610 AD) and the term Byzantine empire from Heraclius I to Constantine XI Paleologos (610-1453 AD).

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
posted 09-23-12 12:59 PM EDT (US)     6 / 8  
(Sorry for all the necros) I tend to use the term Byzantine Empire from the moment the Western Roman Empire fell until Constantinople itself was taken by the Turks, so from 476 to 1453. I don't see any reason why to continue to use the Eastern Roman Empire when it was really the only Roman Empire left.

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
posted 09-23-12 01:28 PM EDT (US)     7 / 8  
Then you could also just name it Roman Empire, since it was indeed the only Roman Empire left. Byzantine was, as mentioned multiple times above, an easy word for historians to distinguish between ancient Rome and medieval Rome. Since Byzantium was by then called Constantinople, I think Byzantine Empire is a wrong word in any case.
posted 09-23-12 01:45 PM EDT (US)     8 / 8  
Indeed, but talking from our time, mentioning the Roman Empire could give an image of talking about the Roman Empire pre-Diocletian, while Byzantine Empire gives the image of post-476/Dark Ages times.

It all comes down to perspective really.

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register
Hop to: