How Hagia Sophia was Built

hagia sophia - Photo by Scott MacLeod Liddle / Flickr

Stories and legends from the Patria on how the greatest church of the Byzantine world was built

The Justinianic Reconquest of Italy: Imperial Campaigns and Local Responses

Gothic war map - created by Cplakidas / Wikicommons

This article examines a particular aspect of Justinian’s campaigns against the Ostrogoths in Italy, one that is often overlooked, yet one that is essential to the understanding of these wars

The Politics of the Gate: Byzantine City Walls and the Urban Negotiation of Imperial Authority

Restored section of the Theodosian Walls at the Selymbria Gate.  Photo by  Bigdaddy1204 / Wikicommons / Flickr

From its violent birth as the surviving portion of a civilization engulfed by invaders to its violent death as a lone city overwhelmed by irresistible assault, the Byzantine Empire was a state walled against perpetual siege.

Fear – Elements of Slavic ‘Psychological Warfare’ in the context of selected Late Roman Sources

strategikon

The study covered 6th century historical sources depicting the fighting methods of the Slavs. A more in-depth analysis focused on the issue of fear in relation to group conformism, described in detail in Strategikon

Management of penile tumours during the Byzantine period

Paul of Aegina, as pictured in a 16th-century woodcut.

In the Byzantine period, surgery appeared to have been highly developed, as one may conclude from the surgical material included mainly in the works of Oribasius of Pergamus and Paul of Aegina.

Barbarian envoys at Byzantium in the 6th century

Diptych Barberini Louvre - photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen (2011)

We intend to focus on the possibility of deciphering a barbaric point of view regarding the relations with the Byzantine Empire, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, when the narrative sources that are available to us have a Byzantine origin, or, when referring to barbarian kingdoms in the West, they are profoundly influenced by Roman and Roman-Byzantine traditions.

Hellenes and Romans in Ancient China (240 BC – 1398 AD)

17th century map of China, by Johan Nieuhof (1618-1672)

In this article I have assembled elements from historical texts, archaeological discoveries and research from other scholars in order to establish the links between these civilizations.

Byzantine church discovered near Jerusalem

Remains of a Byzantine church discovered near Jerusalem. Photo by Skyview Company, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of a Byzantine church and road station just west of Jerusalem. The site is believed to be about 1500 years old.

Medieval Beekeeping

medieval beekeeping

Beekeeping has been a practice going back to ancient times, and during the Middle Ages one could find many farms that kept beehives and collected honey. However, few medieval texts offer indepth information on how this was done. One

Game of Thrones – East and West, Constantinople and Rome, Emperor and Bishop

Alexander Evers

The following is a tale of the struggle between the Emperors of Constantinople and the the Bishops of Rome

Yersinia pestis and the Plague of Justinian 541–543 AD: a genomic analysis

Plague of Justinian

Between 541 and 543 AD, the Plague of Justinian, traditionally regarded as the first of three human plague pandemics, spread from either central Asia or Africa across the Mediterranean basin into Europe, killing an estimated 100 million people according to the contemporary scholar Procopius

Medieval Pest Control

medieval pest control - British Library Additional 27210   f. 13

Have a pest troubling you? In the Middle Ages, you could try these remedies to get rid of them – poisons, traps, or even writing a letter to them! In the mid-10th century a farming manual was created in Byzantium. Known as the Geoponika, it was mostly transcribed from selections of various ancient and Byzantine writers, and […]

Holy and Unholy Miracle Workers

Byzantine Magic

Examining the miracles of Byzantine saints

Two hegemonies, one island: Cyprus as a ‘Middle Ground’ between the Byzantines and the Arabs (650-850 A.D.)

Cyprus

This paper aims to assess the political and cultural status of the island of Cyprus as the only place within the Mediterranean where Christian heirs of Romans and Muslims shared the local tax revenue to create a buffer zone between two empires.

Some Remarks on the Economic Development of the Komnenian Byzantium

byzantium

The purpose of this article is to identify some of the factors which contributed to this economic revival and rectify the image of Byzantium in the 12th century

Paying the Army in the Theodosian Period

late roman soldiers - photo by G.dallorto / Wikicommons

Calculating how much the army was paid during the Theodosian period is more difficult than calculating the army’s pay about a century earlier or later.

Byzantium and the First Crusade: Three Avenues of Approach

Godfrey of Bouillon before the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus in Constantinople, 1097. Painting by Alexandre Hesse.

A recurring theme in the historiography of the First Crusade is that of the Byzantine emperor asking Pope Urban to send a small contingent against the Turks and receiving instead vast armies over which he had no control

Byzantine influences on Western aristocratic illuminated manuscripts

fecamp psalter

The main subject of this study is an outstanding twelfth-century psalter produced in Normandy which has clear Eastern influences, both in terms of technical conception and iconography.

The Life of St. Sabas the Younger as a Source for The History of the Catalan Grand Company

grand catalan company

A piece of Byzantine hagiography from the fourteenth century which, in spite of its religious character, is a valuable source for the history of the Catalan Grand Company, Roger de Flor’s famous band of Spanish mercenaries hired by the Byzantine emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282-1328) to fight the Turks in Anatolia.

The Rise and Fall of the Byzantine Empire

Rise and Fall of the Byzantine Empire

A five-minute video shows the fortunes of the Byzantine Empire, from the year 396 to the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453

The Libraries of the Byzantine World

byzantium libraries

The evidence for institutional libraries—those of the palace, the secular and patriarchal schools in Constantinople, and the monasteries—gives an approximate idea of the nature and extent of their holdings.

The First Arab Siege of Constantinople

Konstantinos Kaldis - View of Constantinople - 1851

The details of the siege remain, however, shrouded in mystery: its exact dates (670–7 or 674–8?) and length (4 or 7 years?) are a matter of controversy; it is disputed whether the Arabs subjected Constantinople to a regular siege or only to a naval blockade; and the overall logic of events is far from clear.

1500-year-old Byzantine grape seeds discovered in Israel

wine of negev

The charred grape seeds, over 1,500 years old, found in southern Israel excavation were used to produce the ‘Wine of the Negev’ – one of the finest and most renowned wines in the whole of the Byzantine Empire.

Roman identity in Byzantium: a critical approach

Theodosius I offers laurels of victory; we can see the water organ of Ctesibius, in the lower right-hand corner - Wikipedia

The main lines of thinking in the research on medieval Eastern Roman identity could be roughly summarized as follows: The first, extensively influenced by the retrospective Modern Greek national discourse, approaches this identity as the medieval form of the perennial Greek national identity.

Mothers of the Empire: Empresses Zoe and Theodora on a Byzantine Medallion Cycle

Khakhuli triptych

This study examines Byzantine enamel medallions of the 11th century that represent empresses in encounters with holy figures.

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